Thousand Foot Krutch to Kick Off New Concert Series on Campus
By Michael Ferraresi and Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau
When GCU staffers first set up the lower level of Thunder Alley to host Christian music concerts, they could feel the bass throbbing as far away as the campus swimming pool.
Sound checks hit 110 decibels. A jet engine registers around 120 decibels on takeoff. So the early indication is that the series of Thunderground free concerts this fall will rock. And, yes, earplugs will be available.
Canadian Christian rockers Thousand Foot Krutch kick off the series on Saturday, playing on the cozy stage for the first 300 GCU students to stake out the show. The international touring band commonly plays in packed ampitheaters, so the Thunderground performance has the allure of being impromptu, with no indication of the date appearing on the band’s website.
Scott Fehrenbacher, who oversees faith-based development at GCU, said the Thunderground concept came from interest in developing a “small, intimate Christian club” that would generate buzz among students and around the music industry in Nashville, where GCU has developed relationships to bring major Christian acts to campus. But unlike big shows at GCU Arena, the exclusivity of seeing performers in such an off-the-radar setting is designed to appeal to current and prospective students.
Planners like Fehrenbacher hope students will line up hours in advance of Thunderground shows, perhaps even camping out the night before to ensure that they get in. The idea is to make Thunderground entirely for GCU students, although it remains to be seen how popular the shows will be. Free or not, tickets could be difficult for students to procure.
“Ultimately, they’re going to tell us what they think of it,” Fehrenbacher said. “It allows for an intimacy you can’t find anywhere else … but it’s not necessarily convenient.”
The fall Thunderground lineup includes a mix of artists and genres. While Thousand Foot Krutch is known for its high-energy hard rock, performers such as Todd Agnew (Oct. 6) provide a more mellow singer-songwriter show.
Fehrenbacher added that GCU has booked artists that exemplify a Christian lifestyle and who can help students connect with their faith through contemporary music, giving them “something meaningful, not just something you read in a doctrinal statement.”
Thunderground Shows Date Thousand Foot Krutch Aug. 25 Manic Drive w/Adeline & Loftland Sept. 11 Jason Castro Sept. 19 Todd Agnew & Jason Gray Oct. 6 Andy Mineo Nov. 2 Group 1 Crew Dec. 3
On Nov. 2, as hip-hop artist Lecrae wraps his “Unashamed Tour” headlining performance at GCU Arena, students can make their way over to Thunderground for an after-party type of show by one of that tour’s performers, Andy Mineo.
Lecrae and Mineo visited campus Wednesday as part of a tour promotion, taking time to check out Thunderground during their stop.
Mineo said he has played similar-size venues at Syracuse University and Azusa Pacific University. Thunderground has a shot at becoming something special, he said.
“Crowds like this are some of my favorites,” Mineo said. “It’s an opportunity to engage the fans. You can see on their faces when they like or don’t like something. I try to be approachable, and after these shows you can hang out with people.”
The Thunderground stage will be set up toward the north end of the lower level of Thunder Alley, in the same nook near the bowling lanes where autographed guitars – such as one by Switchfoot, inscribed with “Go Lopes!” – line the walls. Folk-rock singer Moriah Peters, a GCU student, performed at an album-release party at the venue last spring.
There’s also a personal connection that led Thousand Foot Krutch into the opening spot for the Thunderground series. Band member Trevor McNevan wrote GCU’s anthem, “Feel The Place Go BOOM!” — which is played at home basketball games at GCU Arena.
More information will be available at gcu.edu/thunderground. Additional information about Christian music concerts at GCU is available on Twitter via @GCUTour.