Red with Islander, 3 Years Hollow and Seven Circle Sunrise

Saturday • Thompson House

Since its 2004 formation, Red has had a rather chameleonic presence. The Nashville, Tenn., outfit has exhibited a variety of related but distinct musical facets, shifting from Alternative Rock to straight Hard Rock to Post Grunge to the hybridized Metal of its just-released Of Beauty and Rage, all in the service of a subtle but clear Christian message.

Unlike many similarly structured bands that tiptoe around the subject of spiritual leanings, Red proudly wears the “Christian band” label while maintaining a solid footing in the secular music world by way of tours with the likes of Papa Roach, Candlebox, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Puddle of Mudd, Hinder and Breaking Benjamin.

From the start, Red’s constant core has consisted of vocalist Michael Barnes and twin brothers Anthony and Randy Armstrong (on guitar and bass, respectively). The band has had four drummers and now employs Love and Death’s Dan Johnson as a touring drummer.

Over the past 11 years, Red has amassed a pretty impressive resume, including five studio albums, an anthology, 17 Dove Award nominations and six wins, and a Best Rock Gospel Album Grammy nomination for its 2006 debut, End of Silence.

Red’s success has come from every faction within the secular/Christian milieu, with its albums consistently charting high on Billboard’s Top 200 and iTunes charts. Its End of Silence track “Pieces” was utilized in the trailer for the Sandra Bullock film The Blind Side, and “Fight Inside,” from the 2009 sophomore album Innocence & Instinct, became the first song by a Christian Rock band to debut at No. 1 on the Radio & Records singles chart.

Red’s new album, Of Beauty and Rage, offers a broad variety of Metal elements — soaring clean and menacingly dirty vocals, symphonic drama, tribal and double-clutched drumming, rumbling bass lines, shredding guitar and an occasionally gorgeous melodic heart.

Red has managed to simultaneously adhere to and transcend musical boundaries and attract fervent fans from both sides of a relatively polarized divide. I’m guessing there are some Bible passages that would apply here … pick your favorite.


RED plays at Thompson House Saturday, March 21. Find tickets/more info here .

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