- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 19, 2003

Switchfoot, a group that’s helped propel contemporary Christian music in recent years, definitely didn’t let down its fans during Friday night’s concert at the 9:30 Club in Northwest.

The alternative rockers — frontman, Jon Foreman; bassist, Tim Foreman; guitarist and keyboardist, Jerome Fontamillas; and drummer, Chad Butler, who have found their niche — did more than fine on their debut performance at the venue; primarily performing songs from their fourth album “The Beautiful Letdown” (Columbia Records).

Released earlier this year, the disc has been criticized by some for hewing too closely to the formula established by such alternative contemporary Christian music brethren as Creed and Jars of Clay. That didn’t seem to matter, though, to die-hard fans at the 9:30 Club.

The quartet opened with “This is Your Life,” followed by “Ammunition,” as Jon Foreman successfully encouraged the crowd to clap to the beat. Next, he accomplished the impressive feat of crawling on the top of the audience while singing.

The energy and enthusiasm of the evening grew as he broke into “Learning to Breathe.” It pinnacled during “Only Hope,” the song recorded by pop star-turned actress Mandy Moore for the film, “A Walk to Remember.”

The night’s other numbers included “More Than Fine” and “Adding to the Noise.” During the song “Gone,” Jon Foreman climbed atop a speaker and touched hands with the people in the balcony. After his balancing act, he asked Mr. Butler which song they should play next. While segueing into “The Beautiful Letdown,” the music seemed to drown out the vocals.

The band followed “You Already Take Me There” and “Amy’s Song” with its most well-known number, “Meant to Live,” recently performed on NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly.” As the crowd continued to sing the chorus, the band members left the stage but rocked back for an encore with “New Way to Be Human.” Before finishing with “Dare You to Move,” Jon Foreman encouraged the crowd to log onto www.datadata.org to learn more about Debt, AIDS,Trade in Africa, the nonprofit organization that is raising support to relieve the AIDS crisis in Africa.

“Every day you are alive you change the world,” Jon Foreman said. “Tonight has significance. We are here for a reason. We only live once. I want to make sure I make my life count.”

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