Switchfoot ‘fades west’ but its future is bright

Switchfoot fades west but its future is bright

by Courtney Brown

Combine 17 years, 8 albums, sold-out world tours, intense dedication and passionate music with a homegrown San Diego surf culture and you get Switchfoot. The San Diego locals started their unique headline tour after releasing a documentary entitled “Fading West,” which duals as their latest album title. The surf/rock film was screened before one of the band’s more intimate performances at the iconic Balboa Theatre on Nov. 5.

“It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before,” front-man Jon Foreman said in an interview. “By showing the film, we hope to establish that California campfire setting on stage before we even go on.”

The theme and welcoming presence the band created combined with the cozy intimacy of the venue made audience members really feel like they were jamming out by a bonfire with a couple hundred of their closest friends.

The movie depicted the musicians as they simultaneously toured, constructed a new album and traveled around the world to iconic surf destinations such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Bali.

“I wanted to be a professional surfer, but when that didn’t work out I joined a rock and roll band instead,” a grinning Foreman said in the flick.

When asked how surfing and music are connected, Foreman said, “You have ultimate freedom in both—there are no boundaries, no traffic, no right or wrong way.” That mentality is what Switchfoot so effortlessly captures in its music. The raw sincerity of the musicians in the flick directly translated to the stage.

“Each night I sing these lyrics, they have a deeper effect on me,” Foreman said in the motion picture.

The emotion, passion and talent were not just smoke and lights—there was a very organic and enthusiastic aura throughout the entire night. The guys even took a few breaks to answer audience questions via Twitter and invited fans up on the stage. Surprise guest Rob Machado, who also appeared in the musical journey, played with the band for a few songs as well.

One of the main messages Switchfoot projects is that, regardless of the genre, music has a communal power to connect people. The amount of love this band has for its fans, especially the people of San Diego, is so apparent that after listening to one song, you feel like you’ve been friends with the guys for years.

Foreman’s final piece of advice for any aspiring musician was to “play songs you love with the people you love. That’s it.”

If you live in San Diego and haven’t listened to “Fading West” or seen the big screen adaptation, it’s highly encouraged that you drop whatever you’re doing right now and check out the experience.

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Images by Chelsea Massey, staff photographer