The Merillat Centre for the Arts held Freefall 11, featuring Rush of Fools; Jimmy Needham and special guests; and The Advice on September 9.
This concert was the sixth stop on the Freefall Tour.
The concert began with The Advice, a Christian contemporary band from Greenville, S.C. They played four songs during their time on stage.
The Advice was formed in 2003 by lead singer Matt Houston, his brother Jared on guitar and their friend Jeff playing bass. Houston said that he met Jeff through a mutual friend and later they started playing music together.
The band also includes keyboardist Aaron and drummer Sanchez.
“We would kind of garage band jam, then my brother Jared came in and told us, ‘Why don’t we start a band,’” Houston said. “Aaron, our key-player, he’s kind of been a family friend of ours. Both of our dads grew up in the rock n’ roll circuit back in the 70s.”
The second act of the night was Texas native Jimmy Needham. Needham signed with INPOP Record Label in 2006. He began playing in college at Texas A&M University, singing primarily at bars and coffee shops. His original career plans did not include music.
“I went to college for history and philosophy because I thought I was going to be a history teacher,” Needham said. “So I’m doing this and just [thinking], ‘God this is so great that this was in your plan.’”
During the concert, Needham sang songs such as “Forgiven and Loved,” “Hurricane” and “Daddy’s Baby Girl,” which he recorded after the birth of his daughter, Lively, who was born after his wife had three previous miscarriages.
In addition to some of his own songs, Needham sang popular hits from other artists, including “ABC” by the Jackson 5, and “How Sweet it is to be Loved By You,” recorded by artists such as James Taylor. When he sang “ABC,” he and his band members put their instruments down and sang a cappella.
Alabama-based Rush of Fools capped off the concert with songs of a more alternative rock influence, though several of the recorded versions of their songs have more of a soft contemporary sound. They sang “Undo,” one of their more popular songs, which was released in 2007.
Guitarist Kevin Huguley said that this was Rush of Fools first college tour.
“A lot of times when we’re at concerts ,it will either be folks [who are] 10 or 15 years older than us or 13-year-old kids,” Huguley said. “So it’s just fun being around people our own age and playing music in front of that crowd.”
Huguley said Rush of Fools was formed in late 2005, and the members of the band were introduced to each other through mutual friends and family.
In addition to the music, fans got an opportunity during intermission and after the concert to donate to organizations such as TOMS, which provides shoes to needy children, and Mocha Club, which supports relief efforts focused on clean water, HIV relief, and Women at Risk, which is an effort to pull women overseas out of prostitution and into job training. Before intermission, Jimmy Needham encouraged fans to donate to Mocha Club, and specifically mentioned Women at Risk.
The Freefall tour is scheduled to stop in a combination of different cities. Down the road, some of the stops will be college towns such as Clinton, Miss., and Waco, Texas. They also have stopped in Nashville, Tenn., at Trevecca Nazarene University.
“We haven’t so much focused on, ‘Hey let’s go to a big city,’” Needham said. “We want to go to universities and colleges.”
Before the concert, Houston said that he enjoys playing at Christian campuses partly because of the way Christian college students spend their time.
“Rather than going out and getting in trouble and partying, they find bands that they like and go to concerts,” he said.
Huguley said he saw the concert as a chance to present the Gospel to both those who are saved and those who are not saved, since he assumed that even though Huntington University is a Christian college, there are probably some non-Christians here as well.
“I need the Gospel today just like anybody that has never heard the Gospel because I’ve got to realize that Jesus has got to fix the problems that I mess up for myself,” Huguley said.