Los Angeles Times




Monday, September 29, 2003

Angsty emo kids could use a dose of happy Switchfoot
By Lina Lecaro
special to The Times

"This is another song not written by Radiohead," Switchfoot singer Jon Foreman kidded a few times during the band's headlinging show Friday night at the Avalon (formerly The Palace), referencing the competing concert taking place over the hill at the Hollywood Bowl.

He needn't have worried aabout it affecting attendance, however. The San Diego rockers may lack the recognition factor of the U.K. critical darlings - or even their own hometown peers Blink 182 - but to the mostely clean-cut adolexcents who packed the house Friday, they were bona fide rock stars. The young fans sang along loudly and enthusiastically with Foreman as he belted out heartfelt melody after heartfelt melody, most of which first gained exposure on TV as background to the likes of "Dawson's Creek" and "Felicity." Switchfoot's music was also featured prominently in the Mandy moore film "A Walk to Remember."

Although the quartet's soaring pop tunes have just the right balance of sentiment and simplicity for scoring teen dramas, the material, while passionately renederd, proved to be too blandly structured and reprititive to mesmerize anyone other than hard-core fans. An exception was the single "Meant to Live," a tune off the band's Columbia Records debut. "The Beautiful Letdown," that plumped up the set with glossy guitar parts and a catchy chorus.

Switchfoot rose out of the Christian rock scene, but its positive messages are subtle enough to appeal to nonreligious music fans as well. In fact, angsty emo kids could use a dose of the band's feel-good attitude and thoughtful introspection.