Rocktoberfest in Indianapolis Indiana 2016 was a once in a lifetime show. Along with seeing Petra and Whitecross, I was pleasantly surprised by a newer talent, Cool Hip Priest. The Friday night before the show, I saw a post about a band called Cool Hip Priest and thought, wow, what a name. My daughter told me she thought she had remembered a band by that name doing bad rap at Winterjam and I was less than excited. I looked for CHP on YouTube and found nothing but was able to find a Facebook page with very little info and only two acoustic clips of light rock covers. I thought, "ok, at least it's not rap..."
When CHP took the stage at Rocktoberfest, they immediately blew me away with a heavy wall of sound that caught my attention and held it through their entire set. After their set, I went out and bought their EP Witness. I also had the privilege of meeting Father Chris and DoniRox after the show, though our conversations were short, I was able to get a sense of their commitment to Christ and serving Him through their music. Both were very down to earth and friendly. Father Chris immediately asked me to pray for them, which is not the usual request in that situation. Talent and commitment to Christ is a rare commodity.
On stage at Rocktoberfest, CHP consisted of Father Chris on lead vocals, DoniRox on vocals, Daren Short on drums, David Short on lead guitar (Daren and David Short are established musicians in their own right as members of Inianapolis glam band Rok Hollywood) and handling bass, the verstile and talented Stephen Tarak. Father Chris wore a priest's Cossack while DoniRox had a New Orleans vibe going. The set was musically flawless and these guys owned the stage.
According to their Facebook page: click here for CHP Facebook
CHP began in 2010 as music ministers in an Indianapolis church. As Father Chris and DoniRox honed their musical sound, they have managed to balance softer, worshipful songs alongside hard rocking metal for an eclectic mix of God honoring audio pleasure.
Witness, CHP's EP mixes worshipful ballads and metal fury. Track 1 Sing Hallelujah starts off on an almost retro worship sound that evokes 80's CCM when CCM was still fresh and innocent. It put me in the mind of early Maranatha. Sing Hallelujah brings a feeling of nostalgia and earnest worship. The whole song evokes the genuineness of CHP's devotion to the Savior. Though I enjoyed all the tracks on Witness, the other song I want to mention is track 3 Betrayed With a Kiss. BWAK is by far the hardest track on the 5 track EP. All 5 songs are great in their own right, but BWAK alone, would have made the purchase worthwhile, even if the rest of the EP was terrible, which it is not.
Also of note is Father Chris's versatility and talent showcased throughout the recording as he handled all the instrumental work in the studio. Father Chris's rock vocals, paired with DoniRox's softer sound offers a blend of opposites that somehow works very well. I encourage the purchase of Witness and hope it will be the first of many studio offerings from CHP.
If you get a chance to check these guys out live, do not miss it. If you are looking to book a show, they are ready and willing to travel. You can grab their EP on their Facebook page link above. Cool Hip Priest - rocking hard for Jesus Christ!