Needtobreathe at Koko
There is a certain stigma that surrounds Christian music, especially in the UK. The labelling of certain musical acts also seems strange: for instance, Johnny Cash had many religious songs in his catalogue but his music was never deemed to be Christian. While Needtobreathe may be dismissed by some as a Christian band, what they actually put on is a good swamp rock show.
Koko was by no means full and the incredibly polite crowd did not seem to make a fuss as they waited for the band to take to the stage. An hour late, Needtobreathe finally launched into their brand of stomping Southern rock. Frontman Bear Rinehart’s proclamations to the crowd, though centring on the seemingly obligatory love of London displayed by American musicians, seemed rather heartfelt.
The musical style varied from classic rock, blues, a cappella and even into Mumford and Sons-esque neo-folk. The band was at their best playing good old-fashioned Southern rock, and drew favourable comparisons to the Kings of Leon. At times, the blues jamming started to creep into the realms of self-indulgence and diminished the crowd’s excitement.
Needtobreathe are clearly well versed in playing live and quickly won the crowd back every time it looked as though they had lost them. Bo Rinehart’s banjo and guitar playing was fantastic, and his multi-instrumental abilities allowed the band to have a richer sound. They put their heart and soul in the performance and the crowd went along with them. Their rendition of The Outsiders was met with a wave of excited cheers and Lay ‘Em Down was virtually inaudible over the crowd singing along.
While Needtobreathe’s performance was unquestionably solid, there was a certain something missing. Bear Rinehart has an amazing voice and Seth Bolt and Bo Rinehart are wonderful musicians; however, the performance seemed a little too safe. Much like the audience, the music was polite, kind and good natured, but lacked a certain edge.
Photos: Sarah Tsang
Needtobreathe are currently touring the UK. For further information and future events visit the band’s website here.
Watch the video for Something Beautiful here: