By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. — A number of things remained on Josh Evans' to-do list Wednesday:
But the stress of a packed to-do list couldn't squelch the excitement he felt for a grand re-opening concert. The pastor of Solace and other church members put the finishing touches on the church's new performance venue this week.
"It's a lot nicer than our last place," Evans said. "We loved our last place a lot, but the acoustic are better, there's a bigger loadout space for bands and it works great for our church and venue."
Solace will host 10 bands Saturday night for a comeback show at its new location, 709 S. Virginia Ave. The concert features a mix of metal, indie-rock and pop, and even a high-school drumline.
Acts include a mix of Solace regulars and newcomers, including Arrowmont, Brother Bear, I Decline, Of Course Not, Sister Mountain Brother Sea, At First Glance, Blackhole, Signals, Brutally Frank and the Joplin High School Drumline.
Solace's last venue at 1610 S. Main St. was heavily damaged by a fire in a neighboring building last December. Though the building didn't burn, it suffered heavy smoke and water damage that also took out much of the church's sound equipment.
Evans said he hoped that the church would be able to relocate by March, but got frustrated when, in early March, that deadline would be missed.
But then he spotted the Virginia location for lease. The building was formerly occupied by Ignite Church and Impact Church.
"It happened in the time frame I thought it would, but it was still a surprise because it looked like that wouldn't happen," Evans said.
The new building will house the church's regular meetings and its performance venue ministry, which aims to provide live music in a truly safe place for underage Joplin residents. Evans said church members would still like to buy their own building in the future, but the new location provides many benefits, including space for an office and classrooms, and more bathrooms.
Offering a space for musicians continues to be the main ministry of Solace, however.
"The kind of shows we do happen in people's garages, warehouses and VFWs," Evans said. "They happen everywhere. We are just giving Joplin kids a place where everything is monitored and watched over, so their parents can make sure everything is safe."