October 9, 2008

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Faith in the music and the message
Revolution Show brings fall concert series to the Brimmer
By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

Andrew Walton and Ryan Shaughnessy are trying to start a revolution. The ultimate goal is to conquer the state of New Hampshire, but for the time being, they are setting their sights on the city of Manchester.

Walton and Shaughnessy run The Revolution Show, the first rock and alternative Christian music radio show in southern New Hampshire. The show can be heard every Saturday night from 8 to 10 p.m. on 91.1 FM. Shaughnessy, the show’s founder, seeks to bring in young listeners to a new breadth and depth of alternative Christian music.

“We’re not trying to convert anybody to a particular religion, but rather, trying to bridge the gap between all Christians, whether you’re Catholic or Protestant,” Shaughnessy said. “We’re not out to condemn other radio stations or venues either — we just want to be an alternative.”

Revolution Show DJ and promoter Andrew Walton sees the show simply as another option for young people looking for good music with a message.

“They want music that means something to them and we’re trying to give that,” he said. “We hope it gives them a deeper connection with Christ. We’re not here to preach, we’re just trying to provide something different — and if we can change just one life by doing that, that’s great.”

One way they are trying accomplish that is with their new fall concert series at Manchester’s The Black Brimmer, kicking off on Sunday, Oct. 19, with national hip-hop act John Reuben and Hooksett punk/alternative outfit Borderline Eleven. The show starts at 6 p.m. and is an all-ages, non-alcoholic event.

“The Brimmer is a huge opportunity for us and for a lot of these local bands,” Shaughnessy said. “There’s really nothing downtown for young people to go and listen to this kind of music.”

New England has been proving a particularly tough nut for alternative Christian music to crack, according to Walton and Shaughnessy.

“SoulFest is really the only major event that brings Christian music performers to the state,” Walton said. “We’re in a tough location here in New Hampshire — a lot of bands who play Boston don’t want to come here because they think its going to be too far away, and you get other bands that go straight up to Portland, since they have a pretty strong scene there.”

Though the Revolution concert series is all about music with a faith-based message, the guys don’t want people to be discouraged by the “Christian” label.

“We’ve done performances at the MCC [Manchester Church of Christ] and have had 500 people come to those,” Shaughnessy said. “But we thought that having these shows outside a church setting would make people more likely to attend and check out the music for themselves.”

Shaughnessy believes the performers want to be known for their music first as well.

“They want to be seen as just a band,” he said. “That’s why we don’t put the Christian label on them. Yes, they have a relationship with God, but they also want to be known for their music — like all bands do.”

Still, though they are reluctant to label their events as Christian, they make no pretense about what they stand for.

“People know who we are and what we do, and that the music sends out a positive message,” Walton said. “We feel like we have to do something for our youth and our community, and ultimately, we’re just trying to do something good for them.”

 “This fall series is a test,” Shaughnessy said. “We’re going to be smart and see how the public embraces us. If all goes well, we’d like to do something for the spring, and ultimately, start our own 24-hour radio station in Manchester. We hope that each show builds more buzz for the next — you have to grow, you need to grow, and hopefully God will help us along.”