NeedToBreathe: You NeedtoListen

The lights go down and the noise rises. Thousands of people in the North Charleston Coliseum turn to the stage, where two large screens now hang. Their faces flash on the screen to the beat of the music, one by one, until they’ve all been introduced. Then, they come out onto the stage. The crowd screams wildly as the music begins for their first song, a energetic rendition of “Alive” from their 2020 album Out of Body.

NeedtoBreathe, Photo credits to Gabriel Medlin

NeedtoBreathe has been around since 2000. Comprised of Bear Rinehart, Seth Bolt, Josh Lovelace, Randall Harris, and Tyler Burkum (former members include Joe Stillwell and Bo Rinehart), the band originated out of Seneca, South Carolina.

NTB, Photo Credits to Gabriel Medlin

While some might call them as a Christian rock band, the band members themselves don’t wish to be confined to that genre of music. “Any label is limiting. That one in particular is especially limiting. Because if you’re not a Christian or you don’t like Christian music, I think when you read that you just think, ‘This band sucks,'” Bear Rinehart told Rolling Stone. Yes, they are of the Christian faith, but that doesn’t mean they only have a Christian following. When first getting started as a band, they turned down many Christian record deals, not wanting to limit themselves to the types of music and people they could access.

From NTB’s 2018 tour (Volvo Car Stadium), Photo Credits to McKenna Ronchetto

Even within an album, their content varies. For example, the 2016 album HARD LOVE includes the songs “TESTIFY,” “LET’S STAY HOME TONIGHT,” and “HARD LOVE.” The first song very clearly has Christian themes, while the second is solely a love song. The third song depends on your interpretation. If you heard it on His radio, a Christian radio station, it wouldn’t be out of place. However, no one would blink twice if it played on 95sx either. The same holds true for all 8 studio albums, plus their EPs and singles. There is a song (or many songs) for everyone.

NTB, Photo Credits to Gabriel Medlin

Their most recent album for which they were on tour, Into the Mystery, was produced during the pandemic. The men lived together quarantine style in Columbia, Tennessee for three weeks with a camera crew to capture the experience. (The documentary of their time will be released November 3rd for a one night only run in theaters nationwide.) During their Charleston concert, the group spoke about the uncertainty they had been facing between losing a band member in 2020, the halted lifestyle the pandemic brought, and how they felt so appreciative of the time they had to make this album together, getting back to their roots.

Switchfoot on stage, Photo Credits to Gabriel Medlin
The Coliseum lit by flashlight, Photo Credits to McKenna Ronchetto

For the first and second acts, NeedtoBreathe brought New Respects and Switchfoot with them. First, the all girl group wowed the audience with their songs like “We Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” Next, the high energy lead singer of Switchfoot, Jon Foreman, kept the vibe going with crowd favorites like “Meant to Live” and “Dare You to Move.” Lastly, the main act came to the stage.

During “The Outsiders,” Photo Credits to Gabriel Medlin

While there is no way the band could play every hit they’ve had to date, they got through some favorites. Naturally, “Oh, Carolina” was played and sung with a large amount of crowd participation, a tribute to their home state. From “Washed by the Water,” to a “Drive All Night” and “Great Night” medley, to “The Outsiders,” the band played some older songs sprinkled in with music from their new album much to the delight of their fans.

NTB, Photo credits to Gabriel Medlin

At the end of the concert, the two opening groups came back onto the stage for a powerful medley all together before everyone exited the stage. As the cheers continued and people started to leave, a single spotlight shone onto the center microphone with Bear Rinehart’s signature hat place atop it. NeedtoBreathe then came back out for a few more songs before calling it a night.

The group comes to Charleston decently often, so next time be sure to check it out. It was both enjoyable and had great energy. For now, listen to the group (as well as the opening groups) on Spotify and Apple Music.