The 22nd annual Alive Christian Music Festival in Canal Fulton on Saturday wrapped up with a few finales. For one, it's the last time the fest will ever be held at Clays Park (it moves to neighboring Atwood Lake next year). The show also marked the final performance by Newsboys singer Peter Furler.
DC Talk’s Michael Tait is now performing with the three remaining Newsboys, but Furler (who retired from the group a few months ago) sang "The Breakfast Song" with his old bandmates. The band seemed more comfortable onstage with their former singer up there with them, but Tait did a fine job working himself into the mix.
He especially sounded good on the songs written after he joined the band. Jeff Frantenstein’s keys and bass beats seem to be leading the new Newsboys into a more electronic direction. Taits' soul/funk flow melded with Duncan Phillip’s solid drumming and Jody Davis' rock-hard guitar riffs for a distinctively new sound for the group. It will be interesting to see if they shake up the inspirational charts.
Other highlights of the fest included the Afters (contemporary Christian's answer to the Fray) and Brit Nicole, who brought some female pop to the fans. —Carissa Bowlin