Sunday, January 3, 2010

Awakened from a Knapp

“Jennifer Knapp is Back” (click on pics to enlarge-all photos subject to copyright-S.Bello'09)

One of the things I love about my new home in Franklin Tennessee is its proximity to great music. You can’t throw a cowboy boot without hitting a Grammy winner…or at the very least a nominee.

But much like living in Hawaii and never going to the beach, I seldom make a point to go to the concerts I hear about. I miss my favorite acts quite frequently actually.

While updating the Facebook world on my much anticipated status, an ad on the side caught my eye, “Knapp is Back” concert at Bellcourt Theater. Fully accepting the fact that my computer could be filled with viruses, I clicked the ad. Miraculously I wasn’t taken to an Adult site or anything with a flashing banner. The ad was true! I bought tickets for the show asap as the Ingrid Michaelson show at the same venue sold out before I could nab seats and I still bring that story up when I want to feel lame.

I hadn’t seen Jennifer Knapp in concert since “Kansas”. I was living in Hawaii at the time of the last two albums and no one comes to Hawaii unless they were a hit in the 70’s or 80’s and some moron talks them into a comeback tour. My friend Jenna and I had made the mistake of attending the Jefferson Starship concert. We thought we'd be building this city on Rock and Roll and instead it was new awful acoustic folk songs leaving everyone confused that wasn’t just there to smoke pot, wear their old hippy clothes and relive their youth. Those people were confused already.

I took my boyfriend to the concert and tried to bring him up to speed on who Jennifer Knapp was on our 45 minute car ride while listening to “The Way I Am”.
Even with the winter weather, there was a line out front of the Theater over an hour before the doors opened. My crowd ice breaker was the suggestion that we should all huddle together for body heat. This followed with “where ya froms” Knapp Q and A with fun facts and some very detailed info from a man in the back whom led us all to believe that he may in fact be a stalker of some sort. A super fan that drove here from Georgia was behind me. She’d got there when there was no one around and popped over to the Pub for a beer. She returned with a few expletives to the sight of the line. She was very friendly and/or tipsy and quickly introduced herself to everyone within hand shaking distance then introduced those people to each other. Once inside, our new little group of line friends (except the stalker guy) decided to all sit together. We ran down front and nabbed the third row, which was actually the first row as the 1st and 2nd row were folding chairs that had been brought in. I looked behind me and mentioned how full the place got when someone told me the show was sold out.

The hour before the show gave us plenty of getting to know each other time. Georgia had introduced the second row to the third and forth row and we were all chatting. No newbies among us, we’d all been fans since the first album. We were comprised of mostly 30-somethings talking about their high school and early college years of going to Christian concerts. We’d all since moved off our Islands and lived the lives that would have made those teenagers gasp. This brought one man to say, “this is the best Christian concert I’ve ever been too and it hasn’t even started yet!”. =P

When Knapp took the stage everyone stood up with applause and shouts of joy. We’d missed the music and were excited for its return. To this day there has been nothing like it. Nothing remotely close to fill the void. Her lyrics had such a brutal truth and her albums always missing one element….fluff. Knapp’s voice showed no signs of the long absence from the stage and she’d brought a steller band with her.

Paul Moak (stage right Guitar and also plays for Over the Rhine, Sixpence None the Richer, Mat Kearney, Matt Redman, Toby Mac, Plumb etc)

Tony Lucido (bass and also plays with Toby Mac, Ginny Owens, Francesca Battistelli)

Jeremy Lutito (drummer also drums for Jars of Clay, Mat Kearney etc) Drummers are the hardest to photograph. 1) their arms and head move a lot and 2) other musicians are always standing in front of them. This was the best one, sorry Jeremy.

Nathan Dugger (stage left Guitar) sorry Nathan, I googled you but no luck.

I can’t remember if “A little More” or “The Way I am” started the show. (This is why blogs should be written no later than 24 hours after…not 2 months later when your memory is foggy at best) But they were both amazing and I’m convinced everyone in the crowd was singing along. I know I was.

The set list was a mix of old and new with the full band and a small acoustic set in the middle of the show which she brought Amy Court on stage to harmonize on songs like Usher me Down, Martyrs & Thieves, Fall down, etc. “Fall down” being one of my favorite Knapp songs and tears me up every time I hear it, so I was very happy for its inclusion. Knapp explained how Amy was a musician and fan who contacted her on Myspace. There’s a longer story to that of course but I didn’t take notes so I’ll leave it at that. My brain would butcher the story at this point.

The new songs were worth the wait bringing about the edgier rock side of her music. A few in particular like “Dive In” I wanted to listen too again right away. And when there is no album to buy in the lobby afterwards it can be very confusing to your soul, “you mean I have to be patient??”. What?!?! Patience is so un-American.

It was a great show that left the masses satisfied. And knowing that most of us had been waiting 4 or 5 years for it, that’s saying a lot.

Between songs someone yelled out, “when’s the new album coming out?” at which she replied in a raspy voice, “When I’m good and ready”. =)

Knapp throws a pick to "Georgia" who called out for one. Afterwards someone else in the audience said, "I hope you brought enough for everyone". =P

Me and gutsy "Georgia" by the stage.

Knapp has been in the studio and there was mention of a 2010 release but no promises. Here’s hoping! Welcome back Knapp, we missed you!
Check out Jen's Website and Myspace page for new songs and upcoming news. She's also scheduled for Lilith Fair this summer. I plan on attending, its just a matter of what city. =)