Live Review: Reliant K @ Creation Ichthus Festival, Lexington KY (7/11)

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Reliant K made an interesting joke about their age during their show Saturday night, saying they were told they’re now “the old Christian band.”

And it made me think – I remember getting a mini-CD of Reliant K that was somehow attached to a Taco Bell lid when I was no older than 11 years old. I’m almost 22 now. I’m not sure if the age gap or marketing strategy gets the “old” point across better. Regardless, despite the number attached to the age, Reliant K still performs like a bunch of early 20-somethings.

The sounds of an American Pie movie came blaring as soon as Reliant K began. The band has a distinct teenage punk sound and they mostly stick to their bread and butter. The Ohio band is going to pound through some fast and simple chord progressions and hit a chorus made for the highway. Thankfully, the band still performs the music at that speed.

Reliant K is experienced enough to provide a fun concert experience, having tinkered with their setlist for years for maximum enjoyment, but they didn’t compel me to return to their music after the show. This is sort of a double-edged sword. Despite not being a big fan of their music on paper, they convinced me in person. I like to think it’s a compliment to the appeal the veteran’s have mastered.

Most songs were high energy and the crowd responded pretty well. It was the best crowd I saw at Ichthus, with people jumping around and singing along. People laughed at the banter between the band members, and sometimes the band members laughed at their own stage presence – the bassist pointed out a dud in conversation at one point: “Wow guys, some excellent banter we’ve got here.”

The sound was great besides the final song, unfortunately. A keyboard was brought out for a softer finale, but the keys were so loud they drowned out Matt Thiessen’s vocals and even the rest of the band. It was hard to tell if the mix had been mismanaged or if the band wanted it this way. That was a poor way to finish an otherwise excellent set, but still, the show was fun and that misstep was surely forgotten by most fans.

There is something endearing about a band entering older age (in rock music years). Some handle it gracefully, and some whither into a shadow of their former self. Reliant K is a funny example because their sound is so associated with the emotion’s of younger people. But I would say Reliant K has aged more gracefully than some. They’ve held on to their youth but are smart enough to welcome their band’s age. The Ichthus crowd was happy to welcome them just the same.

Check out photos from Reliant K’s performance here.

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