Sunday, 18 September 2011

Something unexpected

At the end of August my family & I went to Greenbelt. Greenbelt is a Christian arts festival where music, art, performance, thought, discussion and creativity meet amongst 20,000 people from all avenues of Christian traditions.

Beforehand we downloaded the festival app so my wife & I were able to browse through each day and mark all the seminars, gigs and childrens events we thought might be interesting. I marked about six or seven talks and two bands I wanted to hear Rend Collective and Idlewild.

As the weekend progressed I spent most of my time with my two girls taking them to different activities and talks which meant my wife to go to the talks she wanted. I was having an enjoyable and relaxing time, not worrying about missing out on anything. Then one evening with my eldest daughter looking a bit bored we reviewed the bands on in the Underground venue. I spied an act called Listener who performed something called Talk Music. We decided to go along and I can safely say things will never be the same again.

Listener mixes poetry, folk, punk and heavy metal sometimes into a wall of sound, sometimes playfully moving through the genres in one song. They have a performance style that is both agressive and a little in your face (esp. in a small venue) and at the same time incredibly heartfelt in a very self disclosing manner. The lead singer Dan Smith writes wonderful poetic lyrics full of surreal images that speak to you at a soul level, they are at times mystical yet full of love, grace, mercy and hope.

My favourite song of the show and the one I play over and over is the title track from their album Wooden Heart. The brilliance of the opening line "We’re all born to broken people on their most honest day of living" and the call for us in our churches to "wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief" are just two highlights (you can watch and listen to it below).

So I came away from Greenbelt with a new favourite band and more than that, music that speaks to me where I am right now and to something of the truth of who we are as people in this world.

All the family loved the event and we are sure to be going back again. I wonder what events or experiences you have had this year that have ministered to you and will shape your life ahead? Let me know.

PS: I even had a Gong Shower but that most definitely is another story!


  1. Thanks for this, Steven. This track is so raw and real. I loved it. The video really enables it, too. Going to find some more.....

  2. Thank Angela, raw and real is a great description of Listener's music.