Friday Night: Winter Jam 2012 At Toyota Center

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Winter Jam 2012 feat. Skillet, Sanctus Real, Peter Furler, Kari Jobe, Building 429, Dara Maclean and Group 1 Crew March 23, 2012 Toyota Center

Hosted by NewSong and starring Skillet, Sanctus Real, Peter Furler (former lead singer of the Newsboys), Kari Jobe, Building 429, Dara Maclean, Group 1 Crew, For King & Country and We As Human. Featuring illusionist Brock Gill and speaker Nick Hall.

We admit that at Rocks Off that we haven't listened to much Contemporary Christian Music -- at least since DC Talk went on hiatus in 2001. After Watermark broke up in 2006, it was downhill for us from there. The artists we grew up with and loved moved onto other projects.

However, Friday night at Toyota Center, it regained its luster with lots of fire no thanks to bands like Skillet, Kari Jobe, Building 429, Peter Furler and many more.

Group 1 Crew officially kicked off the evening. To best sum them up, they're kinda like the Black Eyed Peas... with talent. They had lots of energy, and whoever can pull off a cool cover of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Celebration" as a means of worship deserves some mad props.

Building 429 kicked off their set with their near-Coldplay sound. However, they seemed to bring the audience into a sort-of rock and roll-style worship when they broke into their No. 1 Christian hit single "Listen To the Sound." Everyone had their hands up in worship to God during their set.

One of the biggest surprises was the fact that former Newsboys front man Peter Furler brought along an old friend in his touring band: Phil Joel, another former Newsboy. Furler and Joel not only performed songs from Furler's latest album, On Fire, but even entertained the audience with such Newsboys classics as "Entertaining Angels" and "Something Beautiful."

Texas native Kari Jobe nearly stole the show with her set. She reminded us of the nice church lady in her 30s that didn't think we were rebellious, actually listened to what we had to say, and was always willing to give us a hug and a smile every Sunday.

At one point she even got on her knees during her hit song "Love Came Down," from her latest album, Where I Find You. Jobe has the voice of an angel.

Things heated up when alt-metal headliners Skillet took the stage. If you never thought you would see a lead singer/bassist John Cooper dressed in a tux gone slightly goth, his wife Kerry Cooper dressed like Amy Lee in addition to pyrotechnics and fireworks at a christian rock concert, you are dead wrong. They rocked like "heroes," to paraphrase one of their song titles.

Who said the devil had all the good music?

Personal Bias: We actually grew up listening to Contemporary Christian music: The likes of Peter Furler (when he was a member of the Newsboys) and NewSong. Heck, we love that album Take Me To Your Leader.

The Crowd: Teenagers, children, parents and youth ministers, all very enthusiastic and actually quite nice. One youth minister even offered me a seat next to her because she saw that I was alone. How nice can you get?

Overheard In the Crowd: Teen girl age 13-16, when asked about Kari Jobe: "She's my role model."

Random Notebook Scribblings: Kari Jobe, I want to raid your wardrobe closet! You dress like we wish we could.

More Random Notebook Scribblings:: Peter Furler, why did you leave the Newsboys? It's confusing now that Michael Tait (of DC Talk) is the lead singer of the Newsboys. It's like if Jefferson Airplane replaced lead singer Grace Slick with Janis Joplin of Big Brother and the Holding Company. Confusion abounds here!

See more photos from Friday on Page 3.

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