Switchfoot. Relient K. No this isn’t the early 2000’s. It’s 2016. This also isn’t another show review about two aging American Alternative rock groups. Here we have bands that frankly, have yet to age.
Switchfoot and Relient K collectively boast 30 plus years of touring and performing. The similar nature of each group is what has brought them together on this tour. For the bands, the music and emotion follow similar paths. Uniquely, the two groups share a strong Christian rock influence. Each also seems to have made it a habit living atop the Christian Rock music charts year after year. Together the bands have 1$ from each ticket sold on the tour supporting Bro-Am which supports local kids, the homeless, and at-risk and disadvantaged youth.
The stage was set with a white buffalo statue, scenic forest-cabin background, and coca-cola cooler next to a white piano and 70’s era yellow lawn chair. All were tied together with a faux tree and grill. Frontman Matt Thiessen was the perfect completion to this odd motif. Wearing khakis, a white button-down, and a yellow jacket. His presence left no doubt of being old, lame, or unhip.
Thiessen is a shaggy-haired 36-year-old. You’d think though with his on-stage presence he was no more than 25. He matched energetic riffs behind the piano with perfect execution. Relient K opened with their piano-infused song “Local Construction” off of their new 2016 album “Air for Free.” The love was apparent through connecting smiles with one of the last original members Hoppes on lead guitar. The veteran duo that often laughed, humanized the band as average people just doing what they love. I couldn’t help but smile seeing real happiness onstage.
Is he really 36? No way. This energy is reserved for a younger persona. The end of the set met an unexpecting crowd with the lead singer of Switchfoot, Jon Foreman, joining Thiessen on stage. The two began an emotional duet with Relient K’s 2007 “Deathbed.” A stunned crowd gave an emotional farewell as Foreman exited. Switchfoot’s Foreman had the crowd ready for the impressive showmanship that his band had ahead.
Flashing led’s in a wave of lights glistened as a countdown began on a screen above the stage. A massive roar followed the end of the countdown. Effectively backing up the build-up from Relient K. “Holy Water,” the Looking for America Tour intro, started in perfect timing. Our leather jacket wrapped, fedora-topped Foreman bolting out stage center just in time for the uptempo crashing drums stage center.
The immediate transition to one of their biggest hits came next with “Meant to live” boasting an aggressive sound paired with uptempo lyrics. Switchfoot’s Tim Foreman on bass, Chad Butler on drums, and guitarists Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley weren’t about to let expectations down. A band sounding better live than on their albums electronically is such a great surprise here.
The rest of their set was a professional high octane experience. Each song blended beautifully to the next. Slow songs had emotion as Foreman reached to the crowd.We have an artist here that made it very clear to share the love with his fans. You felt as if he wanted to give every last person there his thanks through his acknowledgment of the fans. Switchfoot ended the set just as strong as they began.
Much of the crowd consisted of 30 somethings listening to their favorite college or high school heart-throbs. Though a set of Christian acts, whether here for the message or music you left fully satisfied.
The Looking for America Tour has something for everyone. You leave feeling satisfied knowing that concert ticket was worth every last penny. These are two bands that keep the excitement alive through their onstage presences and atmosphere. Fizzled out? No chance. Switchfoot and Relient K aren’t close to stopping. Be sure to catch them nearby before the tour ends Dec 6.
All photos shot by Jacob Dube – PMM Contributor
Check out the: Looking for America Tour
Listen to and find these artists: