Joshua Romero | Contributing PhotographerArts & Entertainment
Switchfoot performs, excites relaxed crowd
Switchfoot dared an audience that was flat on its feet to move. Once the band started stuffing its set list with hits, a jumping crowd obliged.
The rock band headlined a concert on Friday night at the Westcott Theater as part of the tour in support of its latest album, “Vice Verses.” Though the album was released last September, the songs the band performed live didn’t sound stale.
The show was the sixth on the band’s fall tour and, as lead singer Jon Foreman confided in the crowd, probably his favorite stop yet.
“It’s going to be great,” said drummer Chad Butler in an interview. “It’s like ‘Around the World in 80 Days.’”
Foreman forged a connection between audience and band when he brought up a fan waving a sign declaring it was his fifth Switchfoot concert and that he knew one of the band’s songs on guitar.
He brought him up onstage, handed his wide-eyed fan his guitar and let him shred for a song.
“Is your name Jacob? Taylor? Oh, Caleb,” Foreman said, corrected by audience members. “I knew it had two syllables. I was fishing in the dark.”
The audience erupted into cheers, and the unlikely duo embraced the moment.
Paper Route, an indie rock band hailing fromNashville,Tenn., opened the concert with the stage flashing with spastic, sickly shades of green light mottled with muted blues and white. The group’s guitarists swayed around the stage, and singer J.T. Daly quickly broke off opener “Love Letters” to introduce his band to the crowd.
The group, dressed to the nines in collared shirts and blue jeans, teased its latest album, “The Peace of Wild Things,” by playing through several songs from the record to an appreciative, if stationary, audience.
Paper Route’s set stuck closely to the typical indie rock playbook: The band played a song, the audience clapped politely and Daly graciously thanked the crowd after each song. The suspenders-clad front man, gripping his microphone, engaged the audience by darting and weaving his way around the stage, even climbing a raised wooden platform boasting a drum kit to wail away a solo.
“You’re beautiful, Syracuse, we love you,” Daly said, pausing for awkward comedic effect before deadpanning the announcement of the band’s next song. “And speaking of love, I don’t actually have anything to say. Here’s a song about heartbreak.”
Like with most openers, fans’ dancing was restricted to head nodding and leg tapping with hands firmly planted in back pockets. As Daly frenetically waggled a tambourine, a few fans started swaying with their arms raised back and forth, but the dancing was, for the most part, quarantined to a small group in the middle of the crowd.
“We’ve never toured with a band as incredible as Switchfoot,” Daly said to close the set. “We’ll definitely be back.”
That changed the moment Switchfoot took the stage. Grungy guitar licks swept through the amplifiers and the group meandered on stage to “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues).”
Foreman, dressed like a stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll bad boy with a leather jacket, guitar slung around his neck and messy mop of blond hair, leaned into the crowd, pointing and high-fiving. His voice, lathered in reverb, echoed through the Westcott.
“Upstate New York, can I be one of you just for a little while?” Foreman asked. “You’re starting to feel like family.”
Though the band’s shredding started primarily on the stage, Foreman wasn’t content to stay confined, wandering into the crowd to sing. He engaged the crowd by taking a quick breather between songs to read audience member signs with tongue-in-cheek color commentary.
Foreman also wandered from the band’s scripted set list, inviting the crowd to guess what deep cut Switchfoot might play. When several audience members called out different songs, he laughed.
“Now’s the part where I tell you what we’re playing and you’re all disappointed,” he said.
One of his best tricks, however, was saving the band’s two biggest hits in his back pocket, keeping them until the back end of the set. But once Switchfoot busted out “Dare You to Move” and “Meant to Live,” the crowds — and stage lighting — went wild.
Said Foreman: “It’s feeling like a party, which I appreciate. I love a good party.”
Man of faith: Thomas Wolfe uses role as dean of Hendricks, student affairs to connect with SU students, faculty, staff
Thomas Wolfe has many talents. He can ride a unicycle, craft a perfect tuna noodle casserole and bring a community together in the face of… Read more »
UPDATED: May 23, 2013 at 9:09 p.m. Six Syracuse University students appeared in court Thursday after being arrested during a fight outside of Faegan’s Cafe… Read more »
PHILADELPHIA — John Desko and Bill Tierney’s chess matches have a certain ebb and flow. One team tries to get up and down the field,… Read more »