I was excited to see Switchfoot live in Charleston, SC this past weekend and they did not disappoint. They played at the Music Farm, a smaller venue that appears to have been some type of factory or mill in a previous life. While playing several songs from the new Fading West album, they also played a number from Vice Verses, Hello Hurricane, and some older classic songs (Dare You to Move, Gone, This is Your Life, Learning the Breathe). Though I couldn't stay for it, I heard that Jon Foreman went out on the street and played an acoustic after show. The band continues to demonstrate excellence at their craft as guitars, bass, drums, keys, and vocals melded together to produce a high quality modern rock show. A couple of things particularly stuck out:
First, was their presence, particularly that of frontman Jon Foreman. Jon acts like Bono in the body of Kurt Cobain. He was connected to the audience through his singing, brief words, and especially moving out into the crowd. He managed to make it up into both of the Music Farm's side lofts during the concert. Of course, he was even more personal with the acoustic after show. This connection was further aided because about half of Switchfoot's play list were quite singable--old songs with familiar lyrics but also new ones that caught on quick.
Second, was their message. They sang songs like "This is the Sound"--dedicated to Christian activist John Perkins--that cried out for justice. Other songs like "This is Your Life" and "Love Alone is Worth the Fight" yearned for meaning and a truly satisfying life. By Jon Foreman's introduction, "Your Love is a Song" is about grace--and we would infer that this is about God's grace and forgiveness of sin given freely through Christ's sacrifice. Finally, the themes of justice and meaning were capped by songs of future hope--"Restless" and "World Where I Belong." Like their album Vice Verses, to me this concert had a strong eschatological element; that we yearn with a future hope for the day when God will bring about His justice, judgment, and right all that is wrong. Switchfoot, like U2, continues to raise important to life themes in their music--questions that are winsomely answered through the Gospel.
My favorites for the night were "Love Alone is Worth the Fight," "Restless," and "Your Love is a Song." My wife bought me a t-shirt with the tour dates on the back and I hope one of them is near enough to catch the band again and perhaps stay for the after show.