It wasn’t long ago that for KING & COUNTRY were just a new pop act trying to break into the biz who a few people knew were the little brothers of Christian music legend Rebecca St. James. Fast forward to 2019 and they are one of the most popular bands in Christian music with singles skyrocketing to the tops of charts, crossover success, TV show appearances, and collaborations with A-list mainstream artists like Dolly Parton and Timbaland.
It’s little surprise that one of the most hyped tours in Christian music this autumn is the Burn The Ships World Tour, which is the duo’s most ambitious tour yet. Here are 5 reasons why you should be reserving your seats now.
#5. The Setlist One might think the lack of any opening acts would leave this tour a bit hollow. Guess again. With over 2 hours of music and a good 20 songs, the brothers Smallbone offer fans a full night of music that can be described as nothing short of an experience. With every single new cut from their latest album Burn The Ships getting played in full, not to mention a healthy selection of their past hits, this is one satisfying setlist. While their debut album gets rather shortchanged in the selection compared to their sophomore release (as is often the case as debuts get farther in the rearview), it’s hard to find any fault in such an overflowing setlist.
#4. The New Song While several of the new album’s cuts make their live debut in this tour (this reviewer saw the kickoff show in Trenton, which carried the added bonus of being the actual first time some of these songs were ever played live in concert), one in particular is bound to garner some buzz among fans. A brand new song! As in unreleased! Not on the current version of Burn the Ships. The song is presumably called “Together” and is a definite hit for the band. Carrying themes familiar to the band, the sound brings back the energy of Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong combined with the feel of Burn the Ships. It is sure to be a long time crowdpleaser. While the band is known to play new songs fairly far out from any new release, this is fairly legitimate evidence that some sort of release with more new music could be forthcoming perhaps early 2020. Some sort of Deluxe Edition for Burn the Ships seems like something that could fit the bill.
#3. The Energy For King & Country have unquestionably become one of the best live bands around. They bring new energy to many of these songs to elevate them above how they may have sounded in the studio. Both Joel and Luke know how to work a crowd and make great use of their stage to put on a memorable show (more on that below). With many songs having extended intros and outros, the band definite harkens back to another Christian rock live powerhouse, Skillet, with the brothers using their personality to create a unique and unforgettable concert experience.
#2. The Stage This is going to be the part of the tour everyone is talking about. In short, the stage is designed to mimic a colonial ship, and its pretty breathtaking. (Some lucky chaps even got to sit in seats within the “ship” for a real intimate experience.) It’s a long stage, making for a lot of room for the band to bounce around like they are apt to do. The LED TV screen mast makes the perfect backdrop to the whole thing. Few bands would put so much time and energy into creating such a unique performance piece, but the end result is definitely one of the most iconic and memorable stages I’ve come across and is sure to be a hallmark of the band’s touring career.
#1. The Production Value As if the stage itself weren’t enough, for King & Country threw in a lot of other goodies to make this concert a true “show.” From multiple instances of confetti guns to attention-grabbing opener which found the “sail screens” being rotated to reveal Joel & Luke singing on a mast like ship captains, this is definitely not just a “come out and sing some hits” show. This is a fully realized and lovingly planned concert spectacle, the likes of which few bands would bother to attempt.
Joel and Luke have done what so many bands who debuted in the 2010’s could manage: become an A-list headliner in Christian music. With special effects to match the best of the bunch, energy that can get even the biggest musical curmudgeon moving, and a colonial class that has become the band’s signature, this is definitely one of the most ambitious tours of the year. It’s running through November so make sure you go reserve your seats for the nearest show(s) near you!
J.J. Francesco is a longtime contributor to the NRT Staff. He's published the novel 'Because of Austin' and regularly seeks new ways to engage faith, life, and community.
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