Best Of The Batch: Alabaster Box
Live At Ripley Road
Artist: Alabaster Box
Title: Live At Ripley Road
Genre: Christian Rock
Label: Exit 3 Entertainment
The Christian Rock band Alabaster Box (www.alabasterbox.com) released their first music DVD, Live At Ripley Road, produced by Ebenezer Films and filmed at Melbourne’s concert hall on Ripley Road. It was an exciting time for the band that formed in 1998 by lead singer Naarah Seagrott and her husband, Bret Seagrott, on lead guitar. Completing the band are Joshua Brown on keyboards, Matthew Smallbone on bass, Sam Hatch on rhythm guitar, and Matthew Swan (aka Swanny) on drums.
Hailing from the Gold Coast of Australia, Alabaster Box went on an international tour in 2004/2005 in support of their third album, Love On The Radio. They played to audiences in New Zealand and Australia and across the ocean to London, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Collectively, several hundred thousand people saw the band perform live and on television broadcasts. Live At Ripley Road chronicles their experience on the road with live footage and backstage scenes, documenting the band’s journey, and introducing the band with up close and personal interviews and vignettes of them playing their favorite pastime sport, cricket.
The DVD’s overview of the band is divided into four sections. The first part is the Main Attraction, encompassing everything from concert footage taken of their show in Melbourne, Australia, to clips of backstage scenes and interviews. The concert footage gives audiences impressions about the band, showing them interacting with their audience, and giving fans a view of the band’s expressive playing. The band comes off as musicians who really enjoy playing their music and allow their audiences to get involved in the songs. There is a lovely spotlight moment when Naarah and Josh perform “There’s Hope.” It’s the only ballad played in the set, but it is one of the most magnetic pieces in the film.
Other songs which Alabaster Box are shot performing include “Beginning Today” from their self-titled debut album, “Main Attraction” the title track to their sophomore release, and “Love On The Radio” the title track of their latest release. Their energetic, melodic rock verses and rich harmonies made for enthusiastic and upbeat performances. Their melodies enthralled their audiences from the get-go and kept them involved in the music. Other tracks included on the DVD are “Show Me,” “I Want You,” “God’s Little Rocker,” and “Fine.”
The second portion is titled Conversations, which features personal interviews with each band member discussing their early experiences in playing music, the songwriting and recording process, and conversations about their fans and their personal lives. The film goes into the individual personalities of each band member. Naarah is the soft one with a firestorm of passion beneath the surface; her husband, Brett, is the laid back one; Sam Hatch simply takes pleasure in life wherever he is; Josh is the sweet one with a gentle soul; Matt Smallbone is the initiator and most athletic of the crew; and, Swanny is the friendly and fearless one who can befriend the most hostile person in the world.
The third segment of the DVD is the Gallery section, which displays a series of snapshots taken while on the tour. They include pictures of the band, the places they visited like Disneyland and London, and the people whom they met. It is a synapse of the entire tour moving like a photo diary.
The fourth piece is entitled Naarah For The Girls, where Naarah explains her motivation for organizing the girls youth group God’s Little Rocker. She explains the importance of young adults to establish self-esteem and to have a positive self-image. Scenes in this segment show the band interacting with the girls in the club and the activities that make the club a positive place to be.
The final episode is a description of the charity Compassion, an international organization that helps people in poverty. The scenes are narrated by members of the organization and the band. The charity is part of the reason why Alabaster Box writes uplifting verses. They make music that lifts people up and gives them something good in their lives. The band writes songs about real peoples lives and from the position that they know what it feels like to overcome obstacles.
The band members were all raised in families whose parents were pastors, missionaries, or somehow involved in the church. They were raised being involved in youth groups and developed a sense of encouraging people to participate in the music. Like Swanny and Matt say in the film, “It’s cool to be in a rock band.”
Alabaster Box is presently on tour in America through 2006. Their DVD is being sold at Parable Christian stores across North America and through their website.
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