Rend Collective Brings “Good News” to Hagerstown
by Sanders Jett-Folk
On Saturday, November 18th, Christian folk/alternative rock group Rend Collective took the stage at Hagerstown, Maryland for a night of music and worship.
Rend Collective, who are from Northern Island, combines alternative rock with folk and experimental stylings to create layered, intricate music. This, combined with their Christian lyrical themes, gives them a soulful sound. The band has released five studio albums, with a sixth one, titled Good News, being released this coming January.
The doors for the Hagerstown show of The Good News Tour doors opened at 6PM. At 7PM, opening act Sarah Forde took the stage to play two songs from her self titled EP. With just her voice and an electric guitar, she captivated the audience of nearly 1,300 people. Forde, who is from Atlanta, is also a touring member for Rend Collective themselves.
After Forde came Noah James, who came and played three songs with only his own voice and an acoustic guitar. His soul and folk style brought light into the eager audience in front of him. He made many jokes, including calling the stage risers “ego risers” to the humored discontent of Rend Collective guitarist Patrick Thompson who came after him.
The last person to speak before the main act came out was Eric Samuel Timm, a pastor and artist. He came out and painted a beautiful picture representing hope in under five minutes. He then gave a sermon, similar to what you would hear in a Sunday morning church service, to the audience. In the sermon, he discussed what hope means, and told the audience that “treasure is not objects or things, treasure is people,” and asked the audience “what do you treasure?”
After Timm, there was a brief intermission where people flooded out to meet Forde, James and Timm, and to get food and drinks from the concession stands.
Soon enough, Rend Collective bursted onto the stage, blasting into their fan favorite track “Burn Like A Star” as the audience sang along. Between songs, singer Chris Llewellyn preached about the religious significance of each song, and how they connect to passages in the Bible.
A few songs into the set came “Build Your Kingdom Here,” a song that’s popular with both fans of the band and churches around the world. The audience members seemed to know every word by heart, as was the case for most songs. Luckily, for those who didn’t, the lyrics were projected on a screen behind the band.
Next came “Joy Of The Lord,” a song about finding strength in Jesus. After that came “Rescuer (Good News),” the main song from the band’s upcoming album. Even though it was a new song, the audience tried to keep up with the lyrics shown behind the band. The song talks about how followers of Jesus are meant to help spread good news across the world.
A few songs after, Llewellyn told a story about the time that a Make-A-Wish Foundation child used their wish to meet and hang out with Rend Collective for a day. He explained that the show they played that night was bittersweet, because they felt none of their songs could relate to the struggle that the child and their family was going through. As a result, they wrote a song called “Weep With Me,” which Llewellyn performed with only himself and an acoustic guitar. The song had much simpler and softer lights to match the mellow tone of the song.
The band jumped back into their energetic songs with “Every Giant Will Fall,” which Llewellyn joked was because the band “[doesn’t] like tall people.” The audience continued to sing to their heart’s content as beams of light illuminated the small, packed theater room.
The band ended their main set with “You Will Never Run,” a song about how God will never abandon you. At the end of the song, the band members danced around the stage wearing panda hats as streams of cryo shot out of the stage. After the song, the band abruptly left the stage. The crowd roared into a thunderous applause.
But the band wasn’t done. Rend Collective came back out once again for an encore. Llewellyn joked,“We did the thing where we stand over there, and then come back out.” The band ended with their most successful song “My Lighthouse,” a song about Jesus giving you light to find your way through life. The crowd sang louder than ever for the last song of the night. The band left the stage for the last time at the end of the song.
After the show, the audience filed out to the merch tables, where Rend Collective were selling CDs, shirts, hats and even vinyl records. Once people had their fill of Rend Collective merch, they left the theater and filed into the streets of downtown Hagerstown to head home.
Audience member Tyler Lawrence said, “This was an amazing show tonight. I last saw Rend Collective earlier this year at KingsFest in Virginia, but it was so amazing seeing them at a headlining show. Had go to pick up some CDs too. Great show, hope to see them again!”
Audience member Savannah Joyce said “Rend Collective always puts on a great show, and this was no exception. I loved worshipping with them tonight, they always bring such a powerful message with them!”
Audience member Jim Berkley commented, “I always love coming to Christian concerts in the area. They combine worship with great, emotional music. This was my first time seeing Rend Collective, but after last night, I hope to see them again soon.”
Rend Collective will be continuing The Good News Tour through May next year.  Their new album Good News comes out January 19th. 
View Rend Collective’s setlist from the show here: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/rend-collective/2017/maryland-theatre-hagerstown-md-5be0df78.html