With Switchfoot’s 9th album released last month, the local boys expected to pair their release party with a concert for fans who have supported them thoughout the years. Unfortunately the stars weren’t aligned that night when frontman Jon Foreman had a surfing accident that postponed the concert until February 3rd.
Opening up the night with "Ba55", the ambience heavy track off their newest album, Fading West, Switchfoot played through a slew of songs that ranged across their discography. Now, I’ve seen Switchfoot a few times before at their annual Bro Am festival, but this was the first time I’ve seen them take the stage in a normal venue setting, let alone one as small and confined as The Casbah. Jon Foreman’s ebullience made it easy to forget that he had experienced his accident weeks prior. His experience as frontman was evident in his banter with the audience, attention to working the crowd and stage, and professionalism in keeping a show running despite his prior injuries. The jokes from the band and the audience alike ran through the night with fans yelling out random songs to play (“Freebird” and “Careless Whisper” were the popular choices)
A fan favorite was definitely “Dark Horses,” the first single off of their 2011 album, Vice Verses. Jumping into the high energy “Meant to Live” and “The Sound” the band managed to show a stadium level of energy, in a dive size stage that barely fit the quintet. “When We Come Alive” was another hit, allowing the audience to sing along to the “Whoa oh oh ohs” that make the album version so striking
A quick break for audience banter left the crowd with the decision to choose the next song. (Again, “Freebird” and “Careless Whisper” were popular choices) The choice came down to a cover of The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” or an older song. Despite the majority wanting to hear one of the band’s older songs, they opted to play both. Completely falling out of their element but managing a fun and entertaining Beastie Boys cover, the band pulled back together to play “Company Car” from their second studio album, New Way to Be Human.
As the night began to wind down, all 5 members of the band wiggled their way into the middle of the already packed room. With a last request for “Careless Whisper,” Jon passed the mic to audience member who enthusiastically, and without a lick of music, sang through about half of the George Michael classic. Getting back on track, the band, along with their closest friends for the night sang “Hello Hurricane” with a few acoustic hand instruments. The night ended with their massive hit “Dare You to Move,” “Say It Like You Mean It,” and “Where I Belong.” Everything culminated here as Switchfoot ended on the same high they rode in on. The night was nothing like I expected. It was way better, in fact. Switchfoot have the experience to know what makes one helluva show, and the youthful exuberance to put it on.