Christian rock for suicide prevention

Manic Drive will perform a free concert Aug. 22 in Austin. Desperate Tears, the event organizer, is raising awareness for suicide prevention. -- Photo provided

Desperate Tears brings back popular Christian rock outfit

In April, Desperate Tears put on a benefit concert featuring a few Christian Rock bands. To one of them in particular, the response was fervent.

“We had more people talking about Manic Drive, wanting them back more than they did anybody,” said Shelley LeTendre, founder of the suicide prevention organization.

Now, Austinites are getting their wish. Manic Drive will return to play a free concert Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Bandshell Community Park. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. with two opening acts, Adelaine and Loftland, and should run until 9 p.m.

LeTendre said Desperate Tears had raised money from its last two events — the Darren Dash and the Seventh Day Slumber show — that enabled them to put on the show.

“The board and I discussed doing a free concert,” she said. “We want to give back to the community.”

LeTendre described Manic Drive’s music as loud, energetic and heavy, with articulate and non-profane lyrics.

“I know there’s a lot of people in Austin who like this music,” she said, and added teenagers and listeners in their 20s seemed to enjoy the group’s last performance most.

Manic Drive chose the two opening acts, and Loftland is from Albert Lea and has performed and traveled with Manic Drive before.

“We’re definitely excited to come back,” said Manic Drive front man Shawn Cavallo. “This time we’re going to be headlining, so we have a longer set.”

The difference, he said, could mean the band’s set will be three times as long. Besides creating room for more songs, that stage time will give the musicians a chance to interact more and talk with the audience.

Cavallo said those who haven’t heard Manic Drive’s music can expect to be surprised.

“We’re one of those bands that can really reach out to every audience out there, every demographic,” he said.

The group’s music resembles a Top 40 sound, but with a stronger rock ‘n’ roll influence. Cavallo, who is taking a few days off between Christian music festivals and the start of a nationwide tour, recommends the band’s YouTube videos for anyone who would like to sample its sound.

LeTendre said the last concert Desperate Tears put on attracted between 400 and 500 people. She hopes for the same result this time.

“We want people to look at this as an outreach program,” she said. “So many people who have lost loved ones have wanted to be a part of this.”

She encouraged people to bring their lawn chairs, and said several food vendors will be there.

While the show is free, attendees can still visit the Desperate Tears booth to make a donation or find out more about the organization. The Community Against Bullying group will be present also, along with a group started to help single moms and a table set up in memory of Rachel Ehmke, a 13-year-old Kasson/Mantorville student who committed suicide in April.

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