Monday, October 17, 2016

Switchfoot at the PlayStation Theater

Jon Foreman (left) and Drew Shirley
While still in high school in 1996, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Jon Foreman, his bassist brother Tim Foreman, and drummer Chad Butler founded an indie rock band called Chin Up in a garage in San Diego, California. After playing only a few shows, the band became Switchfoot, taking the name from a surfing term. The band grew to include keyboardist Jerome Fontamillas  in 2001 and lead guitarist Drew Shirley in 2005. After early successes in the Christian rock scene, Switchfoot gained mainstream recognition with the inclusion of four songs in the 2002 movie A Walk to Remember and became a million-selling band. The band's seventh album, Hello Hurricane, won a Grammy Award in 2011. The band's 10th studio album, Where the Light Shines Through, was released on July 8, 2016.

Switchfoot usually invites a charitable agency to its concerts; at the PlayStation Theater tonight, the benefactor was Cure International, which helps children with treatable disabilities in 29 countries. Having a charity present at its concerts is part of the character of what it is to be Switchfoot. Many of the band's songs presented the world view that life presents difficult challenges but the response must be hope. These songs included perennial inclusions such as "Meant to Live" and "Dare You to Move" along with newer songs "Where the Light Shines Through" and "If the House Burns Down Tonight," all of which wrapped around uplifting themes. Similarly, an acoustic all-around-one-microphone version of "Hello Hurricane," a song inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, professed "you can't stop my love." Several times in the concert, Jon Foreman connected with his listeners by reaching over barricades to them, walking through the audience and, during the new song "Float," body-surfing over the fans. Foreman sang with an earthy appeal, and the band rocked smoothly over anthem-driven melodic pop songs, but the most pleasant part of the performance was the positive spin that permeated everything for an hour and a half.

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