Competing Spectacles by Tony Reinke, Free for CAPC Members
Reinke wants to help readers not be manipulated and enthralled by the spectacles of our media age. Instead, he shows that we see the greatest spectacle of all in the Cross.
I have had the fortune of hosting Levi Weaver for a performance in my church’s sanctuary, as well as a subsequent performance at another local church’s coffee bar. Both experiences were truly mind-blowing. Seeing one man transfer live the fullness of sound he embodies on his albums redefines the “one-man band.” Instead of massive bass drums, cymbals, tambourine, harmonica, guitar, et cetera, orchestrated into a marvelous street-side symphony, Weaver makes use of a row of distortion pedals, iPhone apps, homemade key tars and other tech to create a sonic palette of sounds and atmospheres.This EP is the best introduction to the fullness of Levi Weaver’s contemplations on life, death, faith, doubt and all of the gray areas in between that yearn to be renewed by something beyond us.
But don’t let the trappings of live performances and the beautiful textures of his album recordings subsume the truly personal and transparent musings of Levi Weaver, the lyricist. I Am Only a Tiny Noise, which Weaver has graciously made available free to Christ and Pop Culture members, is the best introduction to the fullness of his contemplations on life, death, faith, doubt and all of the gray areas in between that yearn to be renewed by something beyond us. This is not your CCM-esque fare. No, Levi’s lyrics explore that period of longing between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. That Holy Saturday when all is in doubt, chaos, and uncertainty but tempered with anticipation and hope. As he echoes in the final moments of “Rogue Boat”:
so i guess i’m lost at sea
on a boat made of things that i always did hate about me
so even if you called me home
i wouldn’t know which way to go
i wouldn’t know which way to go
hallelujah homeward bound
hallelujah lost and found
hallelujah siren’s sound
hallelujah shoot me down
Beyond all of this, however, I can speak to the humility and thoughtfulness that pervades Levi Weaver, the man, as well. As the host of those two performances, I had the distinct honor of housing him and communing with him over conversations that drifted from shared experiences traveling around England, to pondering the philosophical elements of theological truths—ask him to diagram how free will and predestination co-exist sometime!—and talking about faith and doubt and our complete inability to understand the grace of God.
All of this is to say, simply, that Levi Weaver’s music is an extension of himself—his own thoughts, passions, doubts and faith—that he has given us so that we, too, may not be afraid to explore what it means to be human in everyday life and relationships. His music helps us to not side step the darkness and difficulties of life and faith, but lean into them and trust that God will deliver all of his children, those rogue boats, back to the shores of His rest.
If you allow I Am Only a Tiny Noise to soak into your very being, then you will shortly be searching out his other work. You can then seek him out for a house show when he is on tour. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
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