Outdoor concert for ‘Faith Week’ draws more than 600 fans

Marina McGowan

Quinnipiac University rocked with a rare intensity last Saturday when several local recording artists performed in the quadrangle outside Alumni Hall.
The Interfaith Council, Social Programming Board (SPB), and radio station WQAQ presented a free outdoor concert for Faith Week featuring National Christian Recording Artist Relient K, NICO, Mighty Purple, and Strive. Jewish comedian Joel Chasnoff opened up for the Christian rock band concert in the cafeteria.
More than 600 fans, most of them in their teens or early 20s, responded ecstatically to the groups.
The crowd was locked to the music being played by the live performers. With their heads bobbing and their arms flailing, a rush of exhilaration mounted.
There was crowd surfing, in addition to Skittles being thrown on the stage. It was the kind of euphoria that most rock concerts strive for, but few achieve.
“It was really great,” said Interfaith Council member Eric Marrapodi, who helped to organize and run the concert. “There was so much energy from the crowd. No one would think of associating crowd surfing and Skittle throwing with Christian rock-n-roll, but that’s what happened.
“Faith Week is all about letting kids know that there are options when it comes to religion on campus,” said Marrapodi. “It was a good idea to have the concert free and open to the public because it encouraged many people to come out and see what was going on.”
Strive, the alternative rock band from New Hampshire, was described as being similar to Dashboard Confessionals. They played five songs, including “Letters and Sweaters.”
NICO, from New Britain, Conn., is a band with a mix of funk, rock, acoustic soul, and blues. The group consists of four guys, Nico (guitar, lead vocals), Pappy (drums), Pablo Honey (bass), and Scotty B (electric guitar).
Nico said that he has been performing for five years, but as a group they have only been together for about one year.
With the influences of U2, Dave Matthews Band and Lenny Kravitz, NICO has made a name for themselves. There are currently three albums out; “Burn” (the latest release, 2001), “Freekboy,” and “Sillyman.”
“NICO has very upbeat music and upbeat sounds,” said senior John Hirbour. ” ‘Soul Sister’ is my favorite song.”
Kate and Emily, friends of Nico, said, “He’s the coolest Christian I know and he is definitely an individual.”
This is the third appearance for Nico at Quinnipiac. They have previously performed in the Troup mall last semester.
“The people are great here,” said Nico. “The radio show and Eric are awesome to work with. I had a really great time.”
The Mighty Purple is a local rock band from New Haven, Conn. The harmonies of brothers Steve (vocals, guitar, keyboard) and Jon Rogers (lead guitar, keyboard, harmonica, bass, vocals) make up Mighty Purple.
This duo has previously been seen on Quinnipiac Unplugged and played in such venues as Toad’s Place in January. “Para Mejor O Peor – Mighty Purple Live,” which was recorded at Toad’s Place in New Haven, is their national debut album. The album contains fifty-five minutes of live/acoustic gypsy-folk rock songs. Other albums include “Bohica” and “How to Make a Living.”
Another more famous band was Relient K, which started off four years ago from Canton, Ohio. The band consists of Matthew Thiessen (lead vocals), Matthew Hoopes (guitar, vocals), Brian Pittman (bass), and David Douglas (drums). With Gotee Records as their driving force, the band produced a few albums, including “The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek” (2001) and “Relient K” (2000).
Relient K has been heard on WQAQ for the past year and has had such hits as “My Girlfriend,” “Pressing On,” and “Thundercats.” The music of Relient K evokes such bands as The Who, while mixing in a post-punk/pop twist.
There are comparisons to artists such as Blink 182 and Foo Fighters and the influences of Slick Shoes and Ghoti Hook.
Relient K performed “May the Horse be with You,” “College Kids,” “Falling Out,” “Girls That Like to Have Fun,” “Hello McFly” and “Failure to Excommunicate.” Thiessen was inspired by “Failure to Excommunicate” because he wanted to be an individual.
“I was more worried about what God wanted me to be than about what others thought,” he said.
Relient K also played on Quinnipiac Unplugged, the student-run television show, at 1:30 p.m. before they performed in the quad.
“They played thirty minutes of acoustics,” said junior Sean DeLand, director and producer of Quinnipiac Unplugged.
The group can be viewed next week on QUEST Channel 30. The programming for the station is in the Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport areas.
Overall, the music made a fundamental connection with its audience. The crowd consisted of Christian Youth Groups, local residents, high school students and Quinnipiac students. There was approximately two times the amount of people this year as compared to last year’s concert that featured Thirsty Child and Ten Shekel Shirt, said Marrapodi.
“The concert showed that Christians can rock out and have a good time,” said Marrapodi, master of ceremonies. “I am thrilled that this many people came out.”
WQAQ and the Social Programming Board played an integral part in the concert. The radio station helped to promote the bands and fund the concert, while SPB’s primary involvement was supporting the bands through staging and sound equipment.
“We took an active role in the event to produce an effective co-sponsorship,” said senior vice president of programming for SPB Stephen Vindigni.
“It is always difficult for an organization to program events while at the same time incorporating diversity. It was a great opportunity to be part of this experience and further develop our programs. I think the concert produced a great turnout with both a mix of Quinnipiac community members as well as guests. It appeared as though everyone who atteneded had a great time and continuing a Faith concert is something SPB will definitely consider for the future.”