This just hasn't been our spring for 'luck' at concerts. Although we did get to the venue with plenty of time to spare, we did have complications with our arrangements for our show we weren't prepared for some aspects of the show, and our new camera was almost wrecked. With those points aside, the Loud and Clear Dance Party Tour rocks!
Due to our arrangement-problem setbacks, we didn't get into the auditorium of the LMHS Fine Arts Center until moments before Relient K started their set. It was a little before 3pm and the bands were playing another show later at 7:30 at the same place (The deal was that the 7:30 show sold out quickly, so a 3 pm show was added-- which was packed as well). The stage setup was interesting. An enormous backdrop cloth read "Switchfoot.com" with a small disco ball dangling in front of hit from the ceiling. To the left and right hung various banners that each had a different member of the Supertones' name on it as well as "Class of" and the year they joined the band. These were to go along with the STHS (Supertones High School) theme that the tour was centered around. The LMHS school auditorium was the perfect setting for the event.
Buried behind a sea of young enthusiastic fans, we watched as Relient K grabbed the spotlight and announced "Uh... this is a blues riff in B, watch me for the changes and try to keep up," before singing "Hello McFly" (the quote is from Back to the Future). Their fun pop punk was a good intro to the evening and the crowd immediately started moving. To our surprise, a good portion of the audience began moshing. Although it wasn't the stereotypical violent bone-crushing moshing of nonChristian shows, there was a great deal of pushing and shoving in a space that made you constantly 'invade' the space of others. The bands played on as the crowd got wilder and rougher with each performance. But Relient K had a job to do. This involved playing their fan favorites. "Staples" followed, along with their hit tune "My Girlfriend," and a cover of the Backstreet Boys' "I Want it That Way." After "Wake Up Call," the guitarist nursed a broken guitar string as his band mates improved a them for the mending of the broken string. They proceeded to get a little more serious with the crowd as they played their prayerful song, "Softer to Me," followed by a brand new, yet untitled song that will be featured on their next CD, due out later this year. They closed their energetic set out with their fun and familiar take on the theme from the tv show "Charles in Charge."
After a brief set change, Switchfoot opened their performance with "You Already Take Me There," which is from their Learning to Breathe album, and is also one of their loudest recordings to date. Immediately, the energy was in the air as Switchfoot brought the audience a balanced blend of pop/rock and alternative rock. "St. Augustine's Confession" followed, a radio favorite from their New Way to Be Human album. The boys looked mildly tired when they started but picked up energy as the show progressed. This was evident with the bouncy fan favorite "Company Car." Lead singer and guitarist Jon Foreman successfully encouraged crowd participation here, arousing the anxious crowd. "The Loser" followed, a personal favorite from Learning to Breathe, and including an interlude where Jon explained it was focused around Luke 6:20-22, citing some of the scripture. Following "The Loser," the lights were lowered and nothing but a red light shown as Jon was left alone to perform the prayerful "Let That Be Enough" with a string on white lights extending across the amps and drum set behind him. A very tranquil setting was created and the audience relaxed to partake in the moment as well. Jon then broke into a chorus of "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" before the band rejoined him for a moving rendition of "Learning to Breathe." After the song, Jon's brother Tim, on bass, improvised and sung a line from the classic 80s song "I Could Die in Your Arms Tonight," drawing laughter from the crowd. Unfortunately he stopped sooner than the crowd, and Jon, would have liked. But it was delightfully funny nonetheless. The picked things back up with the song that 'goes out to the Backstreet Boys, NSync, and Britney Spears,' off Learning to Breathe entitled "Poporazzi." Without missing a beat, they jumped into the most famous Switchfoot tune, "Chem6a" from their debut release The Legend of Chin. We were sad to see them go when they closed the set with the also fun "New Way to Be Human," but Switchfoot definitely seemed right at home in the tour lineup and was a major plus to the evening.
During a more lengthy set change, the evening's emcee came out with Tony and Darren of the Supertones to share with the crowd from their personal experiences with World Vision ministries and encouraged the audience to sponsor a child if they hadn't already. There was another brief break before the Supertones made their entrance and rocked the stage with their new song "Escape From Reason" from last year's Loud and Clear record. The band members sported white shirts with black ties (as usual), but this time wore sweaters you'd see more on private school kids, however navy blue with a large "S" and a nickname sewn on. Of course the crowd went nearly berserk with the 'Tones performance, moshing as if it were the last song the band would ever play again. The Supertones proceeded to do a fair mixing of songs from their their four albums by playing "Louder than the Mob" from their second, and if not their best, record Supertones Strike Back. The audience barely let up the releasing of adrenaline as the band performed "Resolution," the super catchy "What It Comes To," and "Grounded." After performing the crowd (and personal) favorite "Supertones Strike Back," the band took a break, and invited members of the audience on stage for a dance contest. Three girls and three guys were picked in the end and the band played as lead singer Matt "Mojo" Morginsky lead the girls in starting off the competition. After plenty of break dancing and self-humiliation (hehe), it was the guys turn. And if the first three's silly performances weren't enough, the guys flexed their egos and made up for their lack of talent by either being silly or... throwing themselves into the crowd. Of course I was dead-center in way of the one lunatic's landing zone, so to save the new JfH camera and my physical well-being... I joined the others around me in stepping aside. (Yes, this is the reason for me being so unexcited about the dance contest :) ) After the winners were chosen, the contestants were permitted to remain on stage to dance their hearts out for the upbeat "Hallelujah" from the band's Chase the Sun record. At the close of the song, Mojo addressed the crowd, "How many of you own our first album?" There was a small enthusiastic reaction. "We have a term for you people. You guys are 'Old School!' So this next song goes out to you 'Old School' people, cause this song is..." and the crowd chimed in, "Old School!" It was (literally) music to my ears to hear some of their old material. The band got the crowd hopping as they performed their classic "O.C. Supertones." The new song "Wilderness" followed after an intro Mojo gave explaining the song's meaning, and then was also followed-up by the radio hit "Away From You."
With this being the band's first tour without original member Jason Carson on drums, the feel and way things were done was definitely different. Instead of Jason getting up to give a talk in the middle of the show, bassist Tony Terusa took the spotlight. It was noticable that he wasn't used to doing it, but he proceeded to give a genuine and heartfelt message that I felt was delivered better than that of Carson's. After Tony ended his talk, trumpet player Darren Mettler picked up an acoustic and lead the audience in singing "Open the Eyes of My Heart." Tony took the place of new drummer Adam Ferry (from Plankeye fame) who played the keyboard, and Mojo picked up Tony's bass. The worship segment was an excellent touch to the evening and an excellent break in the set. Darren proceeded right into "Holiness" and ending the segment with "Amazing Grace." Getting back into ST mode, the band rocked with lively renditions of "Little Man," the painfully true story of looking at the bright side of life despite a horrible day, "Jury Duty," and the energy-pounding "Return of the Revolution." The audience had surprisingly thinned out some towards to close of the show, and after "Revolution," the band left the stage. The lights had yet to go back on and the screaming crowd didn't have to wait too long before the Supertones came back on to play "Unite" as an encore.
It was an excellent show with a great lineup. The only drawback was the moshing, which I'm sure won't be like that at all the shows. If the Loud and Clear Dance Party Tour rolls into your area, I suggest you shake yourself on over!-written by John
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