Grammy Award-winning San Diego rock band Switchfoot kicked off their Vice Verses fall tour at Ram’s Head Live this month. The evening got off to a slow start but managed a mid- act corral of band (and subsequently audience) energy to close out on a strong note.
Founded in 1996 as a trio in San Diego, Switchfoot brothers Jon and Tim foreman (rhythm guitars, lead vocals and bass) and drummer Chad Butler have since expanded with Jerome Fontamillas (rhythm guitar and keyboards) and Drew Shirley (lead guitar). “Vice Verses” is the California quintet’s eighth studio album.
Switchfoot’s vocal and musical talent is real, and in live performances they always manage to reproduce the same sound quality for which their albums are known – not an easy feat. Offering up a smorgasbord collection of songs from older and newer albums, the set list was a selection well-aimed to please the most earnest of fans. But it took about half the show before it seemed Switchfoot really wanted to be there.
The elder Foreman (Jon) was ready to engage from the first note out of his mouth for the opener “Waiting for the Afterlife,” with the requisite wardrobe adjustments, ventures into the crowd, and guitar antics – and of course, easy vocals. Butler showed up from the first song onward, too.
But as a band, they waded through the first six or seven songs until they got to “Restless” from their latest album “Vice Verses.” At once everything fell into place with the passionate yet raw power ballad, and the melodic, thoughtful tune seemed to re-energize the band and bring a new cohesiveness to the group and energy to the show.
They continued with their 2000 hit “Dare You to Move” and continue onward with their 2011 single “Hello Hurricane” from their Grammy Award winning album of the same title. With characteristic guitar riffs from the younger Foreman that reverberated the room, it was clear why the album won the Grammy.
Building only upward and onward, they ended the night with another release from its latest album “Where I Belong,” its easy melody wafting through the rafters – classic Switchfoot.
In the end, Switchfoot gave their fans what they were waiting for.
Stephanie Taylor moved to the Washington/Baltimore area straight out of journalism school more than a decade ago. Originally drawn to the bright lights and murky glamor of politics, she quickly discovered she’d rather be writing about stage lights. Theater became her first and most beloved beat. Throughout her career, she’s covered everything from international affairs to pop culture for outlets such as The Washington Times, the Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the Scotsman.com, the DCist, the LAist, and more.