Switchfoot at the Avalon Theatre
March 30th, 2007
The Foreman brothers, Jon and Tim, and good friend Chad Butler started the band Switchfoot in 1996 in San Diego. Now six albums and countless world tours later, the band has been nominated for a grammy, and won several Dove awards. With the release of Oh! Gravity, the band has begun to regain the commercial success that was somewhat lost with the harsh reception of their last album, Nothing Is Sound.
Performing at the Avalon Theatre, with the bill boasting only two acts and a $25 ticket, one would expect a good show from both artists. Unfortunately, I missed most of Copeland, but upon entering and hearing the poor mix and Aaron being under the weather, I wasn’t too disappointed with my miscalculation of time.
Switchfoot took the stage, now as a five-piece with additional musicians Jerome Fontamillas (keys) and Drew Shirley (guitar), the band dove straight into their blend of edgy pop-rock. Jon Foreman’s voice was at the best I’ve ever heard it. Pulling songs from as far back as Learning To Breathe, the band also featured a three-piece string section on certain songs.
It’s with great regret that two albums ago is when I last heard new music from Switchfoot that I truly loved. When I used to feel the same about The Beautiful Letdown, the live performance totally turned my perspective upside down and the album put itself in the same league as their prior work. In all honesty, Nothing Is Sound and Oh! Gravity just don’t cut it for me. With tracks like “Happy Is a Yuppy Word” and “American Dream,” while the lyrics are decent, the melodies and choruses border the land of outright obnoxious. Since I’m sure they appeal to some, I will choose to disregard these few songs from my opinion of the show as a whole.
As I said earlier, Jon Foreman has never sounded better than he did at this show. His stage presence incarcerated the audience’s attention as he ventured into the crowd and scaled the right balcony. I completely forgot there was still four others playing on the stage. However, it was the band as a whole that created such an appealing live show. Tim and Jerome’s background vocals filled up any empty space, and Drew’s guitar work allowed Jon to put down the guitar and focus primarily on his vocal work. Chad’s drumming was just as solid as it has always been. Switchfoot impressed me far more than I had ever imagined, and after two years without, they have again won my praise.
Photos by Michael Schneider