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Fish Fest 2011

posted Aug 7, 2011, 4:44 PM by Sarah Brehm   [ updated Sep 19, 2011, 7:50 PM ]

On August 6, Lincoln County High School in Fayetteville, Tennessee, graciously held Fish Fest on their grounds. With free admission, Fish Fest is an annual Christian concert event designed to change lives and rock out for God. The abundant cloud cover kept the day relatively cool (considering August is the hottest month of the year here), and there were plenty of food vendors serving up barbecue, pizza, funnel cakes, Hawaiian ice, and more. This year’s Fish Fest featured Dakota Green, Road to Damascus, Hello Ohio Avenue, Hello August, Building 429, Flame, and Decyfer Down.


Singer/songwriter Dakota Green showcased his impressive singing voice by performing various songs off his debut EP Love is Taking Over. He invited his friend cKenzie, who came in from Nashville, to the stage for a duet. He and cKenzie will be going on tour together in the fall.


Local band Road to Damascus continued the praise, contemporary Christian vibe. They explained that they do this not to be entertainers, but to worship God. They are passionate about what they believe and what their purpose is.


The pop-rock trio, Ohio Avenue, out of Birmingham, Alabama, was a delight to watch. With a sound similar to Switchfoot, Coldplay, and The Fray, Ohio Avenue’s music, which was filled with depth and complexity, was a breath of fresh air. They performed several songs off their debut album, The Sound, including “The Sound,” “Running Away,” and “Catch Me.” And they did a cover of “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. Coffee shops and alternative radio stations pay attention—you want to remember the name Ohio Avenue.


The female-fronted, praise and worship band Hello August is good at what they do. In the same vein of Hillsong United, Hello August is writing and performing songs that are the hymns of our generation. These worship songs will be sung in churches for a long time.


While the stage was being set for Building 429, Jason McLeod, who played Brock Kelley in the hit movie Facing the Giants, shared his testimony. He spoke about how God pushed him into auditioning for the movie—he wasn’t an actor, just a football player (he mentioned the smell of the grass at the high school made him smile). But through his opportunity to be in the movie, his character did the infamous “death crawl,” McLeod has been about to transition into full time ministry. He shared the story of Jesus fishing with his disciples and reminded us to give our trust to God.


As the sun was setting, Building 429 put on an entertaining performance with bright lights and shooting smoke. Part rock band, part worship band, Building 429 played numerous songs from their current album, Listen to the Sound (which lead vocalist Jason Roy described as the band’s best album), including “Made for You,” “One Foot,” “Where I Belong,” and “Listen to the Sound.” I was delighted that they played a cover of “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2. For so long it seemed that U2 was shunned by the Christian music community, even though they have some of the most inspirational lyrics. It’s great to see Christians starting to embrace U2.  They also broke out a banjo and played a song they had written on the way here; it was about traveling to Tennessee to the tune of “Man of Constant Sorrow.” Then it was dueling banjos time, which transitioned into “I’ll Fly Away” and “Amazing Grace.” They ended their set with their most popular song “Glory Defined.”


Rap artist FLAME energetically entertained the crowd next. He got people dancing and grooving to popular songs like “Go Buck,” and “Move.” With him was pop artist V.Rose who rocked hot-pink skinny jeans. Together they performed “Surrender” off the album Captured. She also performed two solo songs, “No So Average” and “Christian Girl.” Her positive lyrics let the audience (especially girls) that it’s okay to be who you are. “Sometimes I find myself singing ‘I’m a Christian girl,’” said FLAME with a laugh. “And then I have to go punch a wall or something to reaffirm my masculinity.” V.Rose’s self-titled album comes out August 16.


The highly acclaimed, Grammy-nominated band Decyfer Down closed out the night. Even though this was my third time this year to see Decyfer Down in concert (Over My Head Tour Explodes in Chattanooga and Godrocks Gadrock, featuring Decyfer Down), I can’t get enough of them. “There’s a great crowd right here in front of the stage,” said lead singer T.J. Harris as he paced back and forth on the stage after their song, “Now I’m Alive.” “There was this girl who sent a message to the Decyfer Down facebook,” Harris continued.  “She saw we were playing Fish Fest and she said, ‘What’s that all about?’ and I said, ‘Fish! Duh!’ But that’s not really what it’s about it. It’s about Jesus. It’s about our Lord. It’s about bringing this community together to worship God.” The performed a variety of songs off their two albums, End of Grey and Crash, including “Ride With Me,” “No Longer,” “Moving On,” “Crash,” “Over My Head” and “Desperate.” Harris brought out an acoustic guitar and performed “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he channeled Chris Cornell as he played “Fell on Black Days” by Soundgarden.


When the final note ended I turned around to see that the majority of people had left. It surprised me considering Decyfer Down is a fantastic rock band, but it was getting late—this mass exodus would have happened to any band who performed last. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Fish Fest. My heart leapt for joy when I realized that various church denominations helped sponsor the event. Music can transcend the petty differences between denominations. Music can bring us together, united in our differences to praise God.
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Photos and videos by: Sarah Brehm
Dakota Green
The Road to Damascus

Ohio Avenue "Catch Me" live at Fish Fest

Jason McLeod
Building 429

FLAME "Go Buck" live at Fish Fest

Decyfer Down

Decyfer Down "Desperate" live at Fish Fest