Though best known for the song “Only Hope” in the film “A Walk to Remember,” the band Switchfoot is still making music, and just had a tour stop in Lubbock Texas. They are currently on the Looking For America Tour with the alternative band Relient K. In review it was a truly great and enjoyable concert, but highlighted past successes over recent ones.
It is during this tour that the parallels between the two bands stand out. Yes, they have both spent time in the Christian genre, jumping in and out at different times in their careers, and yes they both craft songs in the same alternative genre, but there were a number of other parallels that came through in the concert.
Brothers Jon and Tim Foreman formed Switchfoot in 1996 with their friend Chad Butler playing the drums. They came out with their first album “The Legend of Chin” in 1997, and received their first critical success with the album “Learning to Breathe” in 2000, the cd that contained the now famous “Only Hope.”
Three college students, Matt Thiessen, Matt Hoopes, and Brian Pittman founded Relient K in 1998. The band’s early music had more punk sensibilities and was written on the topics of dropping out of college, relationships, and school dances. Also, fun fact, Thiessen, the lead singer, dated Katy Perry in her more alt-punk days.
Both bands are still turning out pretty good music, with both putting out new cd’s just this year, but both are also arguably past their glory days. Switchfoot and Relient K have both allowed their sounds to grow and develop past their angsty alt-punk sensibilities, to a varying amount of success.
Switchfoot’s past three albums haven’t been able to compete with the success they found with “Learning to Breathe” though all successful in their own right, and though Relient K still has the same spirit, the light-heartedness of their early music has been more grounded in recent releases.
Now everybody grows, as well as their creative expression, and it is unfair to cry out at a band for changing their sound, but in this concert the difference between both bands old and new stuff was night and day. It truly took the limelight as audience members screamed in delight at the beginning guitar riff of an older song, and then followed by echoing indifference to some of the newer songs.
It was a fun and energetic concert, filled with exactly what the audience wanted of the bands, their older music. It is with fear that I begin to conclude that these bands may have had their glory days with the alt-punk movement in the late 90’s and early 00’s, for that may mean that the era is now firmly behind us.