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REVIEW: Matt Maeson sets stage for NEEDTOBREATHE with soulful set on Grand Rapids stop

Fountain Street Church hosts lively concert

Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – On a dreary Saturday night music lovers lined up for a sold out show at Fountain Street Church, a non-denominational liberal church in Grand Rapids.

As the music hall continued to fill, opening artist Matt Maeson made his way on stage with cheers from the crowd. His soul-baring lyrics and raw vocals gave an intimate feeling to the large space.

Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

The stage was moderately lit, with nothing to draw the listener away from Maeson or his music. Maeson was highlighted by a few stage lights, and stood against a dark background with the occasional glimpse of fog in the lights.

The simple setup suited his expressive and mournful songs. His performance of “Unconditional” was exceptionally moving.

Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

The only hiccup was when the microphone stopped working. Despite the technical issue, Maeson continued to sing and his efforts were met with positivity. It didn’t take long for the mic to be replaced with a functional one.

Maeson finished out the set with a song that seemed to revitalize the crowd. The song, “Legacy,” had people in the crowd calling out in response to the catchy rhythm. His honest lyrics and introspective lyrics were well-reflected by a welcoming audience.

Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

Maeson, a Virginia native, grew up traveling and performing with his parents’ prison ministry at maximum-security penitentiaries across the country.

He made his debut with 2017’s “Who Killed Matt Maeson,” which features the growingly popular “Cringe.” The song earned over 600,000 streams in its first month and the No. 12 spot on Spotify’s “US Viral 50” playlist.

Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

His most recent release, “Beggar’s Song,” is a glimpse into what his album “Bank On The Funeral” will bring with its April 5 release.

Maeson is touring with NEEDTOBREATHE through March 17. Just one month later, his first headline tour will kick off in Colorado. Tickets for the tour went public Friday. Already, more than half the shows have sold out, including his stop in Pontiac.

Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
Matt Maeson opens for NEEDTOBREATHE at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

Maeson was on stage for roughly half an hour, by the end of his set the room had completely filled out, including the upper-level. After a short intermission, NEEDTOBREATHE took the stage and 
Immediately the audience was electrified.

If someone in the crowd wasn’t standing on the lower-level by the time NEEDTOBREATHE was on stage they didn’t take long to stand up. Some, closer to the back, were standing on chairs as the headlining act began to play.

When lead singer, Bear Rinehart, hit the first note the energy in the room shifted. It seemed as though nobody in the room could avoid tapping their feet or clapping their hands to the beat of the music.

NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

The group’s uplifting and spiritual tunes brought an exuberance to the church. The crowd appeared to be carefree and fully enjoying the music. The performance stood testament to the gripping melodies accentuated in their “Acoustic Live Vol. 1” release.

NEEDTOBREATHE is on their first leg of a their three part Acoustic Live Tour. The group is from South Carolina, and are often listed as a Christian rock band. The next part of the tour will have supporting act Sean McConnell. Trent Dabbs will serve as a supporting act in the final leg.

NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

 

NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)
NEEDTOBREATHE performs in Grand Rapids during their Acoustic Live Tour on Feb. 23, 2019. (Kayla Clarke/WDIV)

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