Switchfoot played to a loud crowd Monday night.
And it was a crowd thrilled to sing along to all the songs, old and new. By the end of the show at The Varsity, the crowd was louder than the band.
However, the loudness started with protesters from Consuming Fire Fellowship, of Woodville, Miss., who often picket Christian rock concerts in the area. Lead singer Jon Foreman acknowledged them early in the show as “the elephant in the room.”
He said, “I just want to say that I am excited when anyone believes anything these days. So that’s amazing.”
He encouraged people to play the “card of love” in interactions with the protesters.
Unfortunately, loudness made it hard to enjoy the opening act, the Kopecky Family Band. About half the crowd held loud conversations during its set.
Instrumentally, the Kopecky Family Band sounded great. Members switched between many instruments, the expected guitars, percussion and keyboards, as well as trombones and cello. However, the vocals weren’t clear enough to overcome the crowd’s conversation, so lyrics often were not understandable.
Switchfoot started its set with a U2 sound-alike “Say It Like You Mean It” from its current project “Fading West” and then moved to “Stars,” a hit from midway through its career.
The rest of the show alternated between the current album, using footage from the band’s movie of the same name, and older hits. About half of the older songs were from the “Hello Hurricane” album including the rocker “Mess of Me” and the blues-rock “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues).”
Starting early, Foreman interacted with the crowd, borrowing a hat from an audience member who had loaned it to him at the show in New Orleans over the weekend.
As he often does, Foreman walked out into the crowd twice to be held aloft while singing.
The audience often sang without Foreman’s leadership, and he conversed with someone in the audience who was watching a podcast from the band on a phone. About halfway through the show, Switchfoot played “Saltwater Heart” from Fading West. Foreman announced that it was the second time the band has played it live in the United States.
Twice the band was joined on stage by members of the Kopecky Family Band. Gabe Simon’s trombone gave a strong bass line to “Let It Out.” And in the second-to-last number, “something we’ve never done before” Foreman said of Markus Midkiff playing the cello on “Meant to Live.” Midkiff’s cello bow fell apart during the spirited ending. The crowd’s reaction so loud, it forced fellow Kopecky members to cover their ears.