Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Devil didn't make 'em do it- Christian Rock

Religious music isn't just "Amazing Grace" or "How Great Thou Art." It's exploded into a huge market that includes everything from rap to rock and just about any other genre you'd care to name. To most outsiders (including myself), it's a curio at best or a freak show at worst.

That's why a movie like the recently released on DVD Why Should the Devil Have All The Good Music is such an eye-opener. The documentary mostly covers bands playing at a 2003 music festival, including snippets of their performances and interviews with the band members. They talk about trying to be humble before God in their work, not pushing extremist social issues to alienate people, not just becoming a Christian knock-off of popular bands. Most band names won't ring a bell outside this musical community though Pedro the Lion, Styper and Victoria Williams (who sadly isn't interviewed and who you wouldn't think as part of this) are included here.

The problem with the film is that it's not focused or encompassing enough. They shuttle between the music and interviews without always tightly focusing on the themes. Also, there's no outsider Christian perspective heard on what others think of their music or movement and outside of Punk Planet, no one outside of the Chrisitan community to give their two cents.

Nevertheless, the bands they speak to do sound sincere, almost... emo, if you like. In the most touching scene, the band Cool Hand Luke stops its set dead for a moment so that drummer/singer Mark Nicks can address the crowd. He tells them that his heart hurts when he thinks about himself and other bands he sees who forget why they're there- to celebrate Jesus. He's overcome with grief and starts weeping as he addresses the crowd. You'd think the audience would be cat-calling and heckling him by now but instead they're cheering him on. They're with him and they don't see anything wrong with what he's telling them. Even if you're a non-believer, it's hard to see a scene like that and not be moved.


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