Disciple recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of their milestone album Horseshoes and Handgrenades with the Anniversary X livestream show. It was an evening that saw Disciple eras colliding as the Horseshoes era lineup (Andrew Welch, Micah Sannan, Trent Reiff, Israel Beachy) rejoined the current Disciple lineup (Kevin Young, Josiah Prince, and Joey West) to play through the 2010 album in its entirety. The band also played tracks from the deluxe release of Love Letter Kill Shot live for the first time, including chart topper “Darkness Dies.” The result was an evening that celebrated where the band has been in the past while proving why they’re still at the forefront of their industry in the present.
Rock On Purpose contributing writers Jessica Walker, Sharayah Franklin, and Sam Segar took some time to reflect and share their thoughts on the experience.
Few things bring people together like music can, and I absolutely love how so many diverse people across the globe can connect over a favorite band, or even a single song. I have formed friendships with many people over these very things, and hearing stories of how music impacted their lives (or just headbanging with them!) is so encouraging and soul-satisfying. I appreciated how the Anniversary X livestream included many pre-recorded video testimonies submitted by fans, and I thought that they helped build the anticipation of specific songs. Plus, I know the fans loved the opportunity to get involved in Anniversary X in this way!
One of the more solemn and reflective moments in the show was a special performance of the song “Eternity,” which included a pre-recorded portion featuring Kevin and Josiah performing the acoustic version of the song in a cemetery setting. This visual imagery made the song even more emotional and thought-provoking than usual! Towards the end of the song, the pre-recorded video ended, and they transitioned into the live band for the powerful conclusion.
The most exciting part of the show for me was a moment that many fans eagerly anticipated: Micah’s signature backflip! Kevin shared about how his ability to do a backflip was initially what landed him (pun intended) in Disciple in the first place! There had been a good amount of chatter over whether he would include it or not. He didn’t disappoint, and I was literally cheering him on from my couch!
Perhaps what was most unexpected was when everyone came out to perform the final song, “Dear X–” and Joey switched from drums to guitar! Having everyone on stage together was an epic way to end the show!
I have attended all of Disciple’s live streams throughout this pandemic, and each one has been unique in the musical offerings that they provided. I wouldn’t think that they would be able to vary them so vastly, but they have. This livestream was especially unique because it was a livestream dedicated entirely to the tenth anniversary, Anniversary X, of their album Horseshoes and Handgrenades. I would venture to say that this album was pivotal in the life of Disciple as a band. I believe it was the gateway to which many fans came to know of Disciple, specifically through the songs “Dear X” and “Invisible.”
I loved the personal elements presented throughout the livestream. As Jessica talked about, one of the most powerful moments was the song “Eternity” being played in a cemetery, adding an emotional element and then the passion of it transitioned into a live-full band performance. I also loved the acoustic start to “Remedy” during the livestream. All of these elements made it special to hear from fans how this album impacted and continues to impact their lives, how a song reached them at sometimes their lowest points. I also enjoyed hearing the perspective of Disciple members and how the album impacted them and continues to impact them. The way these stories were interwoven throughout the broadcast made for an extremely powerful viewing experience, and for that express purpose it wasn’t a “front to back” playlist of H&H: it was a set list that lent itself to telling the stories behind the songs.
While the livestream was fairly Horseshoes and Handgrenades specific, there were the two new tracks in there as well with “Enemy” and their 9-week chart topping hit “Darkness Dies.” These two songs can be found on Love Letter Killshot: Deluxe Edition, and they have become fast fan favorites. “Darkness Dies” is one of my favorite Disciple songs to be released off that album. I didn’t think a song could take the place of “Panic Room,” but I found “Darkness Dies” to be a departure from previous Disciple songs, and they took some risks musically that paid off.
Horseshoes and Handgrenades was my introduction to Disciple and the beginning of my love of music, so Anniversary X was the show I was looking forward to the most. I had high expectations; this live stream easily surpassed them all.
I love how the Disciple team utilized video content in this stream. Between the fan stories, recollections from the Disciple 2.0 era, and glimpses into show prep, Anniversary X was a live documentary as well as a concert. Starting the stream with Kevin’s path to the stage also added an extra cinematic element to the event.
Seeing Disciple 2.0 get back on stage and perform together for the first time in 8 years was one of the most exciting parts of the night. I held my breath when Kevin propped the riser up for Micah to do the backflip; then I proceeded to celebrate through the rest of “Battle Lines.”
I was thrilled to see Joey on guitar for “Dear X!” The way the show ended with Disciple 2.0 and 3.0 playing together was incredible.
Horseshoes and Handgrenades is an exceptional album; Anniversary X was a perfect celebration of the powerful impact music can make on lives.
All photography by Mary Nikkel.