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Indie folk rock artists to perform in Marion

BY Emily Rachelle Russell and Kaitlin Gebby - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com / kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

John Mark McMillan and Mike Mains along with the Branches are performing in Marion tonight at Bethel Worship Center.

Self-described “folk rock” and “up tempo indie rock” musicians, respectively, McMillan and Mains anticipate hundreds of Midwest locals attending the 6:30 p.m. event. Mains will be opening for McMillan, who is currently on tour. He enjoys McMillan’s music and is happy to be a part of “The Body + Ghost” tour.

“The hope is always to create an environment where people can shrug off the week,” Mains said. “I want people to come and escape from the highs and lows of regular life for a little while, experience something refreshing and carry that with them into their week.”

The concert will feature songs spanning the last decade of McMillan’s career in a celebration of his musical career so far. He is excited to come back to Indiana, an area he loves to play in but missed during his last tour. He does have a few other stops in Indiana planned for this tour.

At his concerts, McMillan enjoys sharing the experience with people.

“I think that’s one of the reasons people love live music,” McMillan said. “It brings something alive in your brain, like a fire you have to share with other people. The chemicals, serotonin, oxytocin, they come alive and it’s exhilarating for crowds of people.”

Though they’re both religious people, McMillan and Mains avoid labeling themselves as Christian artists or their music as Christian or religious. They both value the overarching human experience and connection through music, regardless of an individual’s beliefs.

Mains pointed out that his Buddhist friends who make music aren’t considered “Buddhist indie rockers,” and he isn’t a “Christian indie rocker” either. Instead, his faith has a subtle influence on his music. Rather than proselytizing, he prefers encouraging others with music that makes them feel less alone and gives them a connection to his own experiences with suffering, sorrow or melancholy.

McMillan agrees.

“I don’t intentionally write religious music, but I’ve written songs that people consider worship songs in a religious context,” McMillan said. “I think, being a religious person, it naturally flows into my music.”

Bethel Worship Center is excited to host the event. Natasha Dalton, the church’s office manager, is personally looking forward to attending the concert. She enjoys singing McMillan’s music during worship services and anticipates seeing him perform live to be a great experience.

“We jumped on the chance to have him here,” Dalton said. “His music seems to really hit home with a lot of people.”

Tickets for the concert are $20 and can be purchased online on Eventbrite or, if the event doesn’t sell out, at the door. For more information, visit www.johnmarkmcmillan.com or contact Bethel Worship Center at (765) 674-4722.