“You know, without audio I’d swear this crowd was at a seriously great hard rock show,” suggests the Bible camp’s video producer as he watches footage from a worship concert played by The City Harmonic the night before. The crowd pulses along to the band’s piano hook-laden “Manifesto” with hands and fists raised in worship while they swing back and forth like a hammer to its steady, driving beat. And even when the band puts down their instruments the crowd takes over, raucously singing again and again the chorus to a tune they have only just heard. Before long the band stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other, and eye-to-eye with their audience, gathering whatever instruments they can find and leading the room in a rowdy, folk-tinged rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” In the middle of the stomping, clapping and shouts of “comin’ for to carry me home,” it’s clear that for the crowd, this moment isn’t only shared with God, but also each other.
When listening to The City Harmonic, you instinctively turn up the volume and join the chorus as the music dynamically bounces from sparse intimacy to soaring celebration and back again. It’s a musical metaphor for the band that plays it—with their feet in the dirt and their eyes toward the heavens. It isn’t long before you find yourself singing along and not because you ought to, but because you want to. Like a spontaneous outbreak of “Hey Jude” around the campfire, you want in on the moment. And getting people in on the act—hearts pounding and feet moving—is at the core of what The City Harmonic is about.