Friday June 3, Air Raid 19, presented by Christian super-station LIFE 100.3. Peterborough’s own Hawk Nelson had returned home to play to a huge crowd at Calvary Pentecostal Church. Supporting the headline band was To Tell, B Reith, and Manafest.
To Tell started the evening off and led by the dynamic Zach Havens on keyboards and vocals. Havens was accompanied by his back up band to create a full sound for his pop/rock music. To Tell is garnering a lot of attention on Christian radio stations in Canada. The recent release of his first album So Much More gives Havens a greater breadth of material to draw from. Havens pleased the crowd with his performance of “Safe to Say” his current single.
Gotee recording artist, B. Reith. followed To Tell. B. Reith gave the crowd his unusual blend of hip/hop/rap and pop. Reith is similar in style to KJ-52. Reith struggled through the entire set. It turned out that his monitor was not functioning, making it a difficult for him to keep on track with his music. A bit of a disappointment, but his natural ability shone through. His latest single, “Knockin’ On My Door” was a crowd favourite.
Chris Greenwood, more commonly knows as Manafest, blasted onto the stage with his band. Manafest powered through many of the rap/rock tracks found on his latest CD, The Chase. A lot of Manafest fans were in attendance at this show and he played to the crowd. Manafest has a great stage presence and covers the whole stage with his great performance.
The last time that Manafest and Hawk Nelson played together in Peterborough, they were both signed to Tooth & Nail’s, BEC records, thus launching their careers. Both bands have been mentored by Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch/FM Static fame.
It was time for the hometown boys to come out. Hawk Nelson owned the crowd. I’ve often said that everyone from a tween to grandma (and grandma’s dog) is a Hawk Nelson fan. This band never disappoints. A great stage setup with 8 ft high illuminated letters spelling “HAWK” lit the back of the stage. All the band members enjoy their time on stage. A tough thing to do, considering this band plays hundreds of dates per year.
Lead vocalist, Jason Dunn kept the crowd on it’s feet as he went through song after song. HN gave a full slate of 16 songs and 2 encores, playing tracks from all five Tooth & Nail record releases. Jonathan Steingard gave his all on lead guitar and backing vocals. Steingard is one of the premier members of the band, who has offered much to his personal fans with the release of Fox Run and solo CD’s. Daniel Biro carries the duties of bass player and background vocals. Since 2008, effervescent drummer Justin Benner has shared his talents. Prior to Benner, Skwid Tosti was drummer (Tosti was well known for signing to play with PAX 217 at 13 years of age).
Jason Dunn spoke of his love for the city of Peterborough and it’s people. How he misses not being able to spend as much time here as he would like. Dunn shared his experience of working as a parking attendant at Civic hospital prior to the start of SWISH, the previous name of Hawk Nelson. After 11 years as a band they continue to thrive in the marketplace and have progressed both lyrically and musically. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy many more concerts with this band again.