Photos: Switchfoot In Detroit

American alt-rockers Switchfoot have often been praised for their combination of catchy melodies and open-ended hooks, blurring the lines between various genre definitions and ideas. In recent times, the band’s sound drifted a bit from the grittier roots of the past, going for a more melodic, acoustic-driven tone that tips the hat off to artists as diverse as The Fray, Coldplay, or Imagine Dragons, only to mention but a few.

You might think that the production-heavy, lush and crisp tones of the band’s most recent studio releases (such as the band’s new studio album “Native Tongue”) was better enjoyed through a set of headphones than on a stage, but the band definitely held up and far exceeded the expectation of how it should sound in a live setting. Their recent album is almost like a manifesto for the band, who has come out with one of their most ambitious efforts to date, promoting positive values such as love, compassion, togetherness, and awareness of positive social values.

On a stage, they stay true to the mission statement, creating a very positive and inclusive environment for each and every person in attendance. It’s almost as if it was a gathering of old friends, bound together by their fandom for the band. And you never really know what could happen at a Switchfoot show, such as being able to rock out on bass to your favorite song.

The band takes to the stage with fervent enthusiasm, and the thing that’s really striking is that they were having a lot of fun interacting with the audience. The band’s light show and screen visuals were understated yet rich and multi-dimensional. Every song had its own visual identity due to the projections, and it was also an amazing way to help the band set the mood for the tracks. In addition to the cool visuals, the band’s sound was top-notch. Each instrument had its own space, carved within the live music, and the guitars had a crisp, heavy tone that was perfectly balanced.

Switchfoot’s sound and aesthetics are deeply tied to that early 2000s scene when alternative rock had its first Post-Nirvana big moment on the mainstream scene, and bands like Switchfoot had the opportunity to reach out to a larger crowd. In 2019, this is one of those bands who stood the test of time, and they can still play sold-out shows to a loyal fanbase!


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