NQC 12′ Friday Night: Highlights And Lowlights
I have just returned home from my first night of NQC 2012. I have been coming every year since 2006, at least one night each year. Some years every night, some just one or two. This year it will be a two day event for me. As I stated last night I got a little burnt out after a full week last year, so I am glad that I had to scale back this year. Now without further ado I bring to you my highlights and low-lights from the nights festivities.
ruppesSisters never ever cease to amaze me. They were pitch perfect on the two songs they did tonight. I could have listened to quite a bit more from these ladies. My fiancee’ who was with me tonight hadn’t heard them before, and she was pretty much slack jawed throughout both of their songs. That to me summed up the quality of their performance (my fiancee was a music major).
- Gaither Vocal Band: other than poor David Phelps forgetting some words to his feature “Glorious Freedom”. The Vocal Band’s performance was probably the biggest highlight of the night for me. They had a solidly paced set that went over extremely well, though I believe they should have switched their final two songs around. Michael English was so amazing on “Winds Of This World” the other guys had to try and keep up. They closed with a slow song “Sow Mercy” which is a great song featuring Mark Lowry; but didn’t really fit after their blow the roof off renditon of “Winds Of This World. Back to the Phelps feature, they had some breath taking vocal inversions on that one. Similar to what they did on “Please Forgive Me”; but with this song they have taken it up another notch. I was pretty well gobsmacked throughout that entire song, once David got things figured out. I will say though that David has had a tough week, his sister is entering the final stages of cancer and is in hospice, so keep them in your prayers for sure!
- The Mark Trammel Quartet was quite good tonight, Mark only seems to get better every time I hear him sing; and Pat Barker, WOW what a singer. He isn’t just a bass singer, he is a singer who happens to sing bass. Eric Phillips has also gotten better since I last heard him, he isn’t over singing his notes nearly as much as he used to, which is a very good things and something that others could learn from. Highlighting their set was Mark knocking the ball out of the park with his spot on rendition of “Too Much To Gain To Lose”. This quartet is going places trust me on that one folks.
- The Perry’s had a decent set, I missed their first song and apparently so did Joseph Habedank. Their set was highlighted by “When He Spoke”. I am still amazed at Josephs progression as a singer since he joined the group nine years ago. He always had potential, and he is just really starting to take a hold of that potential and build on it.
- The Nelons knocked it out of the park. Amber Nelon proved tonight that she belongs in the conversation as one of the best female singers on the road today. She beat the tar out of “I’m Going Home With Jesus'”. To be honest Jason and Kelly had trouble keeping up! I am looking for great things out of Amber Nelon over the next few years
- Tribute Quartet was a highlight for me this year, their sound has really evolved into something really worth perking up and listening to. “The Song Of Heaven” and “Good News From Jerusalem”were the big hits from their set. The former really gave Riley Harrison Clark a chance to really shine. Josh Singletary has, like the group evolved as a singer. His solo on “Good News” was spot on and well done. I look for big things in the future for this group.
- First lowlight of the night was when I found out my “media” identity had been stolen! I got to the media booth and gave the kind lady my name, and she said someone had already picked up media passes under my name. I have to say that I was floored to learn of this. I then proceeded to show her my ID; and she obliged by giving me another set of passes. I later learned that Daniel Mount had the same stolen identity issue. I would encourage NQC to tighten up on this, by simply requiring ID before any passes are handed out!
- The crowd was pitiful at times tonight. Not to mention the fact it was probably the lowest crowed I have ever seen at an NQC on a friday night. They two upper sections closed off with a large black curtain. I hope it picks up next year and beyond, because if this year is any indication then the NQC could be in trouble down the road somewhere.
- The Exhibit Hall was an absolute ghost town. I haven’t ever seen so many empty booth spaces on a friday night. Though the flea marketers still seemed to be out in full force peddling their garbage. A lot of the groups booths had already been tore down and gone. I can remember days when groups stayed the entire week, now due to the economy alot of groups have to schedule dates on Friday and Saturday to pay the bills. I hope things get better; because what I saw tonight really bothered me regarding the future.
- The sound was pretty solid most of the night, until the gaither show started, they had more than one instance of some really awful feedback coming through the speakers. It ruined what would have been a decent sounding night.
Overall I came away pleased with what I witnessed. Sure there were performances that fell short of what should be a high end standard at NQC; but I can’t really complain to much about night as a whole. I had a good time. On another note I thought the first NQC awards show was tastefully done and it was good to see some winners that don’t ever win though they deserve to in the singing news awards. Dianne Wilkinson was a very deserving winner of songwriter of the year, and Kim Collingsworth was very deserving of her musician award. Also it was nice to see David Phelps win favorite tenor, and the Collingworth Family win favorite mixed group. As I stated already I had a good thing, and tonight left looking forward to tomorrow night. I can’t say that has always been the case at NQC.