Harp & Lyre with A Bullet for Pretty Boy, A Sequence of Ghosts, Jerusalem and more
6 p.m. Saturday
The Conservatory 8911 N. Western http://www.conservatoryokc.com
$8 advance, $10 door

Outward appearances can be deceiving. Such is the case of Harp & Lyre.

The six guys who comprise the group look like the typical rock band, boasting numerous tattoos, shaggy haircuts and impeccable wardrobes. Their shows are loud, filled with chugging guitars and heavy drums, and lead singer Tyler Carder screams the words at the top of his lungs.

Many fans say that they feel something in the room when Harp & Lyre performs, and it’s a presence one might not expect judging this book from its cover.

“We had a show a few months back, and there was this girl,” drummer Dylan Baxter said. “She wasn’t affiliated with any religion or looking in any way, but at the show, she said she heard someone talking to her heart.”

Added Carder, “When someone says that someone could feel the presence of God during the set, or that God spoke to them through the lyrics, that’s a true encouragement. It lets us know that we are on the right track.”

See, the crosses dangling from their necks are more than a fashion statement. This Oklahoma Citybased act is a hard-core rock band that stands for something bigger than music, and even if it’s a far cry from traditional gospel music as we know it, their songs are aimed toward praising God in their own way.

“I enjoy the fact that we are opening up people’s eyes to the fact that not all Christian music has to sound the same,” Baxter said.

The guys have had pretty substantial success in doing just that, engaging a certain niche oft forgotten or dismissed in typical church settings.

“We are appealing to a group of kids who feel are misfits, that don’t fit in at school or have a rough home life,” Carder said. “It’s important to give them hope that God is there.”

Many of the guys grew up with similar feelings to these kids and an attraction to music that may not be so outwardly cheery, but joyous in its own, dark manner.

“There was something about heavier that struck us, that we were able to connect to in a different way,” Carder said. “It grew on us.”

Both Baxter and Carder said they are totally supportive of more traditional Christian music as well and further emphasized that what they are doing is just being an example of how diverse Christians truly are.

They’ve found a good number of people to back up that sentiment. With hundreds of thousands of online plays and steady, well-attended national tours to their names in a mere two years of existence, the group has found a solid audience both near and far.

“The band is about us being believers and doing this to spread the word,” Baxter said. “I’d like to think we’d have but half of what we have right now if we hadn’t been so blessed.”

Saturday night will see Harp & Lyre release its second album, “Clumsy Architects,” but also the exodus of guitarist Noah Whitnah, who is departing to pursue mission work soon after.

“We’d like to be remembered not as the Christian guys, but people who are Christians, not the Bible-thumpers,” Baxter said. “Just real dudes who aren’t trying to push anything on anyone, just to be there and hang out and play music for these kids. A lot of times, that’s showing more of Christ than spittin’ out Bible verses.”

Joshua Boydston

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