When one thinks of Christian music, an idea springs to mind of organs, hymn-books and a warbling choir in a cold, old church. On 10th May in Cardiff’s Great Hall, Rend Collective and Guvna B exploded onto the stage to change that expectation.

Rend Collective and Guvna B are well-established artists in their specific genres. Both have had a small following over the years but are now making an explosive impact on the mainstream music scene.

Guvna B is a two-time MOBO award winner and is a champion of Urban Gospel Rap, the first rap artist to reach the top of the Christian and Gospel Chart. Hailing originally from the East End of London, his music takes inspiration from the rap and grime scene in the area he grew up in and adds lyrics about his faith in God.

Guvna B is a UK-based Urban contemporary gospel rap artist and composer.

He arrived on stage with nothing but a set of drums and a MacBook, but that was all he needed to raise the rafters. He began by performing two of his better-known songs, ‘Fear Is A Lie’ and ‘Everyday’. Even when his backing track dropped in the middle of ‘Everyday’ he continued on, the buzz of the crowd carrying him through.  Next came ‘Nothing but the Blood’, which samples an old gospel song – a clever twist on the sampling culture within mainstream rap music (think ‘U Can’t Touch This’ or ‘Anaconda’).

Guvna B supported Rend Collective throughout May for their ‘Good News’ tour. Photo sourced from Guvna B’s Instagram.

The music itself was not too dissimilar to the hip-hop/grime tracks in the charts, and with tracks such as Stormzy’s ‘Blinded by Your Grace’ climbing up the top 40, even the message of the music is not unfamiliar to today’s rap scene.

Rend Collective then took to the stage. A Christian-Folk band from Bangor in Northern Ireland, took to the stage. They certainly have a definitive sound, something that could only be described as folk-rock fusion – their style is very similar to that of Mumford and Sons.

Rend Collective’s shows are upbeat and folky. You can’t help but tap your foot along. Photo sourced from Rend Collective’s Instagram.

Their rugged vocals are accompanied by strident guitar and Celtic rhythms in the drums, enhanced by their many auxiliary instruments. In one evening they made good use of violin, accordion, glockenspiel, piano, tubular bells, banjo, mandolin, and even a dustbin. As a band of multi-instrumentalists, Rend Collective often swap between instruments to cover all musical bases. Within one song, one band member went from playing accordion to piano, via glockenspiel and drums, all without missing a single note, a very impressive feat.

The band performed many of their older hits, such as ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ and ‘More Than Conquerors’, combined with songs from their new album, Good News, including ‘Rescuer’ and ‘Resurrection Day’. Unlike most concerts, the lyrics were projected onto the back screen, accompanied by some beautifully crafted graphics, so that the audience could sing along.

Rend Collective is a Northern Irish Christian experimental, folk rock, worship band originating from Bangor, Northern Ireland

Rend describe themselves as a ‘celebration’ band, and this was most certainly the case as by the second song they had the crowd Irish dancing as confetti canons filled the room with streamers. The party continued throughout the night, right up until their encore of ‘My Lighthouse’, arguably their most popular song.

Music aside, the most interesting thing about the gig was how eclectic it was, not many concerts combine hip-hop and folk in one evening. Moreover, the audience itself was a mix of young and old, Christian and non-Christian people who came together to enjoy an evening of music with a positive message. The overall moral of the evening was that whatever our personal idea of ‘Good News’ may be, we should find a space to celebrate it in a carefree and glorious way.

Rend Collective released their new album ‘Good News’ in January 2018. To find out what the band are up to foll0w their Instagram and TwitterGuvna B released his brand new album ‘Hands Are Made For Working’ on the 17th May 2018. To keep up to date with future shows and announcements follow his Instagram and Twitter