On Saturday, November 2, the band Gungor played at Eastern University. This was its sixth stop in their world tour for their fourth album, “I Am Mountain.” This album shows a different side of Gungor that was unanticipated by the crowd on Saturday.
The bluegrass, beat boxing, one-man-band K.S. Rhoads warmed up for Gungor, mixing loop tracks with slide guitar, vocal percussion, harmonica, and free-style lyrics. Gungor keyboardist John Arndt joined K.S. Rhoads on stage for a few songs, and even played one of his own original pieces off of his new solo project, a classical piano album.
The lights dimmed, and drummer Terence Clark and keyboardist/bassist John Arndt took the stage, followed by Michael and Lisa Gungor, and they began a four-part harmony in the opening song, “Wayward and Torn.” Unlike their other albums, adopted by progressive churches across the country, this one incorporates a plethora of techniques and genres unfamiliar to long time fans of Gungor’s alternative-folk style. From Lisa’s autotuned ballad, “Wandering,” to the dub step finish in “Let it Go,” it was unfamiliar territory for the crowd on Saturday. The overall tone of the first half of the show was eerie, supplemented by Lisa’s shadow puppet story telling in “Beat of Her Heart.” The crowd went crazy, though, when midway through the show they played “This is Not the End,” from their last album “Ghosts Upon the Earth,” followed by “I Am Mountain,” the title track of their new album. Besides the sparkle lighting effect on Michael Gungor during the opening lines, “I am mountain/I am dust,” which was a little too reminiscent of Edward Cullen in “Twilight,” the concert finished strong, the crowd’s excitement contagious.
During their last song, “Upside Down,” Arndt, Clark and Lisa Gungor left the stage for Michael Gungor to play dissonant chords on his guitar, an unnerving and ghostly goodbye to the crowd. However, during the encore, Michael Gungor came back alone and played “Beautiful Things,” the hit off of Gungor’s first record. After the show, Eastern junior Shelby Brenegar said, “I was going to cry if they didn’t play ‘Beautiful Things,’ and then they played it, and I started to cry!”
Daniel Phillips, a junior, said the show, “was astounding!”
Student Rebecca Knab agreed that it was a good show, but is skeptical of Gungor’s new sound: “Maybe I’m not artsy enough to follow it, but I just couldn’t find the underlying messages [in the lyrics].”
Despite some disappointment, the crowd was still pumped up after the show. Drummer Terence Clark talked to students afterwards and said, “Amazing crowd! First time playing here, [and there] was great energy!”