Switchfoot Performs At The Tabernacle: A Photographers Perspective
Switchfoot: A Concert Review
Written & Photographed by Everett Zuraw
The Tabernacle is a historic venue located within the Centennial Olympic Park District of Atlanta, GA. Almost on the corner, but not quite. It is paired with a skyline-viewing Ferris wheel as its’ neighbor. Arriving at the venue by 3 PM, the line for Switchfoot’s VIP had nearly entered through the front entrance. As I wondered throughout the Centennial park, I listened to some of the works by all three acts of the night: Tyson Motsenbocker, Colony House, and Switchfoot. When doors opened at 6:30, I waited alongside other first-time (Tabernacle) photographers to be met by a representative of the venue. We were all let in 10 minutes before the start of the first act, with a somewhat spacious pit as the workspace for the night. The balconies and floor audience packing the house, cheered as the lights dimmed.
Having toured with Jon Foreman in 2015, Motsenbocker continues on a journey of self-discovery through his music and songwriting. He played a mixture of works from his album (“Letters to Lost Loves”) and EPS (“Almira” & “A Kind Invitation”). The songs held a steady pace, with soft movements blending with a pre-recorded chorus in the background. The songs were melancholy, but moved along well enough to keep the audience tuned in.
After the first three songs, we were all escorted back outside to wait for the next band. Running back to my car to stash my camera, I ran back inside to watch the rest of Motsenbocker’s set along with the general floor audience.
After Motsenbocker’s warm-up, Colony House: Caleb Chapman on lead vocals, with his brother, Will Chapman on drums, Scott Mills on guitar, and Parke Cottrell on bass, further energized the audience with a mix of rock songs from their albums “Only The Lonely” and “When I Was Younger”. Illuminated by a large light-up sign, reminiscent of those found at older gas stations, off to stage left.
From the perspective of the pit, the music kept a strong beat throughout. Returning back to the audience after another trip to the parking lot, the fourth and fifth song featured more antics from the group as everyone, but Will, moved around, riffing off each other as the lights flashed behind them. Ambient illumination further into the set created a dramatic shadow-effect on the band as they continued to play.
Hailing from San Diego, California, Switchfoot has been active since 1996. Joined together by a love for surfing and music, the band consists of Jon Foreman on lead vocals and guitar, Tim Foreman on bass guitar, Drew Shirley on guitar, Jerome Fontamillas on keyboard and guitar, with Chad Butler on drums.
Taking a short hiatuses, both to spend time with their respective families, and for Jerome Fontamillas’ successful short battle with cancer, the band set out to celebrate ‘Native Tongue’ on February 14th. Their most recent album and the self-title for the tour, debuted back on January 18th. The tour also features a varied set list from city to city, as a celebration of the past 10 albums, EPs and singles.
‘Native Tongue’ is a mix of alternative-rock songs. However, Switchfoot has stated they never wish to have their works feel as though they belong to one specific genre, or “boxed in”. As a means to express inclusion, they invite those on the edge to come enjoy the music as it is performed and written.
While early works focused on finding meaning, and the emotions that emanate from self-discovery, their newest album focuses more on elements that keep people from being divided. A core theme found within songs from the album is to find a way to uplift individuals as a means counteract hate. Especially with the state of the world as it is today.
Switchfoot closed the night with an hour and a half set. Consisting of hits such as “Dare You To Move” & “Meant To Live”, every song demanded the audience participate whether it was through singing back to the band, clapping, or dancing (as best they could on the packed GA floor).
Throughout the show, an LED screen featured clips from past music videos, archival footage, and visual elements that corresponded to the rhythm, and lyrics of each song performed. Dominantly, visuals of coastlines popped up throughout older songs, and while Foreman talked about how surfing still impacts the cohesive nature of the band.
Running out, to stash my camera in my car for the last time, I took my seat in the balcony section. I observed the audience more so than I could from the pit. By the fifth song, Jon Foreman entered into the floor audience, clasping hands with fans while holding his mic in the other. Towards the end of the set, all members of the band joined together in the middle of the stage for a more intimate, group performance of “Learning to Breathe”, “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” and “All I Need”.
The night ended with a shortened version of “Prodigal Soul” leading into “Dare You To Move”, as the former was played with the beginning riffs of the latter hidden in its background. Growing louder until the transition became complete and the night came to a close.
After the show, Jon Foreman went out to greet fans near the tour buses, playing a solo acoustic set whilst sitting on the roof of a car in the adjacent lot. The beginning of the after-show performance is streamed live via Instagram.
The Native Tongue Tour continues on the following dates:
Feb 17 – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, Tenn.
Feb 19 – The Fillmore Silver Spring – Silver Spring, Md.
Feb 20 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia, Pa.
Feb 22 – Wellmont Theater – Montclair, N.J.
Feb 23 – The Paramount – Huntington, N.Y.
Feb 24 – House of Blues – Boston, Mass.
Feb 28 – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, Ontario
Mar 01 – House of Blues – Cleveland, Ohio*
Mar 02 – 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, Mich.
Mar 03 – The Fillmore Detroit – Detroit, Mich.
Mar 05 – The Pageant – Saint Louis, Mo.
Mar 06 – Egyptian Room at Old National Centre – Indianapolis, Ind.*
Mar 08 – Park West – Chicago, Ill.
Mar 09 – Park West – Chicago, Ill.
Mar 10 – The Sylvee – Madison, Wisc.
Mar 13 – New Daisy Theatre – Memphis, Tenn.
Mar 14 – Club Brady – Tulsa, Okla.
Mar 15 – House of Blues – Dallas, Texas
Mar 16 – House of Blues – Houston, Texas
Mar 18 – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater – Austin, Texas
Mar 19 – Aztec Theatre – San Antonio, Texas
Mar 21 – Iron City – Birmingham, Ala.
Mar 22 – The RITZ Ybor – Tampa, Fla.
Mar 23 – House of Blues – Orlando, Fla.
Mar 24 – Revolution – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Mar 27 – State Theatre – Minneapolis, Minn.
Mar 28 – Sokol Auditorium – Omaha, Neb.*
Mar 29 – Uptown Theater – Kansas City, Mo.*
Mar 30 – Fillmore Auditorium – Denver, Colo.*
Mar 31 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, Utah*
Apr 03 – Rialto Theatre – Tucson, Ariz.
Apr 04 – The Van Buren – Phoenix, Ariz.
Apr 05 – The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Calif.
Apr 06 – Arlington Theatre – Santa Barbara, Calif.
Apr 07 – Warfield Theater – San Francisco, Calif.
Apr 09 – McDonald Theatre – Eugene, Ore.
Apr 10 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, Ore.
Apr 11 – Neptune Theatre – Seattle, Wash.
Apr 12 – Neptune Theatre – Seattle, Wash.
Apr 13 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver, British Colombia
Colony House Social Media:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/colonyhouse/
Switchfoot Social Media:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/switchfoot/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/Switchfoot
Tyson Motsenbocker Social Media:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/japhyrider/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/japhryder