Plastic Buffalo, Skittles, and a Monkey Man: The Typical Relient K Show?
Katie Bennett
contributor
November 10, 2002
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COLUMBUS, OH (RMR) - Who ever thought a crowd-surfing, paint-chipped buffalo, bags of Skittles, and powerful praise songs could go hand in hand?

Ohio natives Relient K proved that a buffalo could rock out to songs about Jesus Saturday night in their Columbus stop on the Back to the Few Tour. Opening effectively with "Sadie Hawkins Dance,"the band jolted the entire crowd into a caring and respectable frenzy. The crowd even acted as a choir shouting out "Oh-Oh-Oh"s at the appropriate times.

Lead singer Matthew Thiessen asked the crowd if they were ready to hear more of his corny songs before the band plunged into "I'm Lion-O,"a song about the 80s cartoon "Thundercats,"and a song featured on the Veggietales movie "Jonah"entitled "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything."These tunes appealed to both the oldest and youngest members of the audience, which was composed of parents and elementary students.

With a new album due out in March, Relient K introduced tracks "Trademark"and "Oops! I Did It Again,"the latter being dedicated to pop princess Britney Spears. Despite the crowd's lack of lyrical participation, their enthusiasm stayed the same, if not increased.

Before playing "Hello McFly,"Thiessen asked the crowd if they wanted to crowd-surf their buffalo, affectionately named Dermike. As Thiessen sang, "I wish I was Michael J. Fox,"Dermike floated over the crowd like your typical crowd surfer. Surprisingly enough, the crowd held the large, plastic buffalo upright long enough for three guys to straddle it all at once. To add to the bizarreness of the sight, a man in a monkey suit jumped off the stage and crowd-surfed as well.

Behind the interesting antics of their show, Relient K still managed to play their songs and instruments equally as well, which is an area where bands such as Blink 182 falter.

The highlight of the set was "Softer to Me,"a beautifully crafted song with a sweet melody and even sweeter vocals from Thiessen. Throughout the hot and sweaty crowd, arms sprouted out and up in an action of praise and worship.

Tooth and Nail band Bleach was an energetic force of the night to reckon with. Probably fueled by the fact that they were being filmed for their DVD, or that lead singer Dave Baysinger was celebrating his birthday, the Nashville band never ceased to push the boundaries of endurance. Baysinger surprisingly jumped in the crowd at several points throughout the show, and even jumped off a stack of speakers during the last song of the set.

Looking like a young and vital Elton John, Baysinger was the most enthusiastic and energetic lead singer of the night. Slapping hands with the audience, the birthday boy was obviously enjoying the night.

Storming through songs like "Baseline,""Fell Out,"and "Broke in the Head,"off their latest album Again, For the First Time, Bleach were rocking hard enough for lead guitarist Miliam Byers to break his High-E string.

Philmore, a three-piece band, took the stage before Bleach with a Union Jack flying-V guitar and a bassist more suitable to be in the Lord of the Dance. Mr. Happy Feet, bassist Kayle Greiman, danced around the stage as he played.

Promoting their latest album, The Truth about Philmore, the band played a half-hour set. A good majority of the crowd was being exposed to Philmore for the first time, resulting in the lack of crowd participation. There was, however, still respect for the group.

The opening band of the night, Holland, was a pleasant way to start off the night. Looking like a functional Gallagher brothers (of Oasis), lead singer Will and brother Josiah have striking physical similarities. Throughout the show, the brothers expressed concern for the girls in the front of the crowd, urging the crowd to move back as to not crush those in front.

Pointing out that their first album is due out February 11, Holland performed the noteworthy song "The Whole World."Will sang "And the whole world just sings along to every word and song,"as the crowd sang with him.

[RMR]