If you haven't heard of the Grammy-award-winning Christian contemporary collective Maverick City Music, allow me and Gospel legend, Kirk Franklin, to introduce you. For those who aren't familiar with the genres of Christian contemporary versus Gospel, it's quite simple: Gospel is defined as faith-based/inspirational music recorded by primarily Black artists, while Christian contemporary is the same type of music performed by others. Maverick City Music is a group of talented individual musicians, singers, and songwriters who joined forces during a 2018 writing workshop. Through the power of YouTube, they've amassed quite the following. Seamlessly, they've merged the two genres and have attracted a multi-cultural fan base. Aside from their fans, they caught the eye of "Stomp" singer Kirk Franklin and are currently on a joint U.S. tour to promote their new album Kingdom. I had the pleasure of attending their show at D.C.'s Capital One Arena on June 17, and my soul remains on cloud 9.
I'd be the first to admit that prior to the show, I hadn't heard of Maverick City Music, and that's due to me preferring traditional Gospel over Christian contemporary. I attended the show out of love and support for Franklin, having seen him live four times in the past three years. To my surprise, Maverick City Music outshined from the moment they stepped foot on stage, and taking my attention away from Franklin is a difficult task. Franklin is a magnetic performer who mixes his love of praise dance, gospel, and hip hop with 0 fear of krumping around the stage. But everyone in Maverick City Music demands attention and has such a presence.
Aside from a background choir, Maverick City Group members take turns singing the lead. The members consist primarily of Chandler Moore, Naomi Raine, Dante Bowe, Brandon Lake, Maryanne J. George, Aaron Moses, Lizzie Morgan, and others. With Franklin on stage with them, their opening song was Franklin's classic "Revolution," with a speciality D.C. house music beat undertone as a salute to the city.
From there, Maverick City Music and Franklin swapped between their catalogs, serving as a background to one other. Some of Franklin's hits they performed included "Melodies From Heaven," "Smile," and, "Brighter Day," "Imagine Me." During one interlude, members of Maverick City Music and Franklin sat in Church pews brought on stage as Maverick City Music sang snippets of other Franklin classics such as "Something About the Name Jesus," "Now Behold The Lamb," "Silver & Gold," "The Reason Why I Sing" as Franklin played the piano and told stories behind the songs. But it was clear that Franklin wanted Maverick City Music to be the focus.
He sat and played piano as they performed or danced around the stage while continuing to hype the audience, though additional hype wasn't needed. Some of Maverick City Music's hits performed included "Jirah," "Million Little Miracles," "Promises" (a personal favorite of Franklin's), "Refiner," and "Wait On You."
Members shared some personal experiences of how their faith is so important to them, with Lake revealing that he's a miracle child while performing "Million Little Miracles." "My mother had six miscarriages," he told audience members. "Three before me, and three after me. Had she listened to doctors, and gave up, I wouldn't be here."
Franklin encouraged the audience to continue to have hope and be gracious and kind amid the evil world we live in. more importantly. The multicultural collective of Maverick City Members urged that despite the sometimes racist world we live in, noting recent the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, God and people of faith will always outshine the darkness.