Every now and then a concert leaves a lasting impression that persists for days thanks to a music performance you weren’t quite expecting nor ready to have end.
Athey Music, a collective borne from a church, turned a modern ballroom-type sanctuary into a top-billing setting complete with stage and lighting equipment (and a fog filter that ruined any chance for decent photos!) reserved for an arena tour to accentuate and fully deliver their already impressive musical prowess for a live performance of their debut album on Sunday in front of a packed house of a 1,000 strong at Athey Creek Christian Fellowship just outside Portland, OR.
In the final of three album release concerts, Athey Music consisting of singer and guitarist Joey Meador, singer Brooke Meador and singer and acoustic guitarist Peter Elliott, along with their collective of other musicians including two drummers, a second on electric guitar, a bassist and back-up singers, offered a respite for weary souls looking for some normalcy in this world gone mad.
The band magically and efficiently worked their way through their new album Goodness & Mercy while adding two previous released singles to complete a 14 song, 75 minute set. Athey Music didn’t follow the album track by track, instead mixed up a few songs on the setlist likely to help with flow as you get a blend of rock, Christian pop and a few slower ballads and emotional pulls, some hovering on southern gospel.
Joey Meador drives up-tempo rock with defining melodies for the songs he leads, Brooke Meador dials back the pace a bit with a traditional pop passion approach and sometimes a little country charm, while Elliot carries methodical and determined vocals with harmonies that slowly rise to prominence.
Athey Music Concert Review
The evening began with the first two tracks off Goodness & Mercy “Gimme a Hallelujah” and “Our Great Hope” sung by Joey and Brooke, respectively, which set a lively tone. Both songs feature dynamic melodies with sticking choruses as Brooke reminds of Bon Jovi’s soaring vocals on his vastly underappreciated “Learn to Love” off 2009’s The Circle. Elliott slowed the pace for “All I Need” besting the album cut giving way to Brooke’s southern gospel tinged “He Is Good” a heartfelt piece she wrote after a trip to Louisiana a few years ago to rebuild flooded houses and being touched by the faith of one of the homeowners.
Joey kept the same pace with his earnestly sung “Father” then took it back up a few notches for “Closer Than a Brother” a catchy pop song that could easily crossover. Brooke stepped back up with sweet Christian pop for “Not Alone” while Elliott added his vocals for the reflective but resolute “Trust” showing his penchant for strolling melodies.
Athey Music finished their album with Brooke shining on “Never Far Away” a potential Christian pop hit, Joey channeling early Switchfoot on “Fill My Cup” and Elliott offering some hope for those in doubt introducing “Refuge” as one he wrote after experiencing some of life’s challenges including an eight-year wait to become a parent. Keeping a lid on any type of encore, Athey Music closed out the evening with the highly affecting “The King Is Here” with nearly perfect vocals from Brooke, and Joey putting a stamp on the evening with “Come All Ye Broken.”
Athey Music may only have a localized if not home-church centered fan base at the moment, but with a little effort and marketing – if wanted – this collective has the talent and message for a broader stretch outside their base. Arguably, Brooke Meador has chart-topping vocal range and Joey Meador, who has a solo EP, could easily front a Daughtry like rock band giving him opportunity to hone and bust out his guitar craft, but this collective has, for now, answered a call that will someday pay dividends.
Well done, good and faith servants, well done.
Athey Music Album Release Concert Setlist:
- Gimme a Hallelujah
- Our Great Hope
- All I Need
- He Is Good
- So Very Good
- Closer Than a Brother
- Not Alone
- Never Far Away
- Fill My Cup
- The King Is Here
- Come All Ye Broken