While Switchfoot and Relient K are finishing their second week of touring together again, I thought about a concert review I wrote back in 2001 on our old website, cMusicWeb. My diatribe was written before I found my niche in band interviews. And just prior to my submitting this for editing, the staff had decided not to focus on concert reviews any more. Somehow in all of that, my piece never got uploaded to the site. I decided to bring it out of the archives, and got a chuckle when I read it. So, I decided to share it with you, in all of its unedited glory. Too bad I don't have any pictures. Enjoy!
Loud and Clear Dance Party USA
Supertones with Relient K and Switchfoot
Ocean City Music Pier
Ocean City, NJ
April 8, 2001
With two of the three bands hailing from California, I thought it was appropriate to view the Loud and Clear Dance Party tour from the back of the Ocean City Music Pier in Ocean City, NJ. The pier, seating under 1000 people, looms over the Atlantic Ocean. When it is quiet, you can even hear the ocean rolling under the pier during high tide. With the view of the ocean outside the window, and the sun setting to the west, I sat down to experience the show. Noticing a plethora of blue and orange T-shirts, along with some people in white shirts and black ties, I figured many people came to see the Supertones in action. However, I would bet that many people experienced and enjoyed two new bands that they may have never heard of before.
Relient K began their ½ hour set with "McFly." I stood up at the beginning of the song, and never sat down again. With a short introduction, they continued with the witty "My Girlfriend", the song some have titled "The Marilyn Manson Song." Matt introduced the next song as "something a little bit slower" and the band started singing a short praise chorus slower and quieter, but before I had a chance to sit down, they picked the pace up again. Explaining that the song was dedicated to the lazy, the boys from Ohio then sang "Wake Up Call" and rolled right into "Softer to Me." Mentioning that they are working on a new CD, they asked the audience if they could sing a new song from a release scheduled for August 28, 2001. With a resounding "Yes!" from the crowd, we heard some more Relient K wit and even some falsetto in "Sadie Hawkins Dance." The crowd was encouraged to clap during the last song of the set, "Charles in Charge." Ending with "We’re leaving on a jet plane," the band said their goodbyes and left the stage.
After only a five minute break, the San Diego boys, otherwise known as Switchfoot, came on stage singing "You Already Take Me There" to start off their 30 minute set. The band continued with "Something More" and "Company Car." The dance party was really getting into full swing as Jon encouraged us to clap or sway our arms for many of the songs. Unfortunately, the sound at the beginning of the set was not adequate to relay Jon’s great lead vocals. Dedicated to the losers, Jon’s vocals sounded better for "Poparazzi" followed by "Learning to Breathe" which led into a sing-along of "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever." Jon stopped the movement of the evening to explain that "we have been given one life to live" and we should not be static, followed by "I Dare You to Move." In a brief interaction with the audience, Jon shared of his surfing with Chad earlier in the day followed by "Chem 6A," dedicated to Jon’s chemistry teacher. As the Dance Party continued, Jon and Tim danced on stage with their guitars during an extended guitar riff. At this point we were introduced to some of the lighting effects yet to come as Switchfoot ended their set and once again encouraged the audience to sway their arms during "New Way to be Human."
After a short introduction to Safe Harbor International, an organization focused on the persecuted church throughout the world, and an encouragement to sponsor a child through Compassion, there was a twenty minute intermission in preparation for the O.C. Supertones. My friends and I left the pier for a few minutes to touch the ocean and check out the food vendors who stayed open on the boardwalk in hopes the concert attendees would be hungry.
I had no thoughts of sitting down again when the Supertones came on stage. The O.C. boys came on stage with white shirts and ties (no surprise there) and Varsity sweaters with a large S on the front, continuing the theme which overpowered their "Loud and Clear" cd. "Escape from Reason" was quickly followed by "Louder Than the Mob" to start off their set. Matt welcomed everyone as if we were all one family and said they were hoping to communicate the joy of Christ. "Resolution" had the lights facing the jumping audience. With hands going up and down, the ‘Tones followed with "What it Comes to."
This was when the real dancing began. With the lights now providing a full light show, people were either skanking or jumping through most of the songs, and the Supertones shed their warm Varsity sweaters. Some concert go-ers even started a train that slithered though the front of the audience. "Grounded" was followed by the favorite "Supertones Strike Back." Following a short dance contest of three guys and three gals picked from the audience, the dancers remained onstage for "Hallelujah." After a short discussion about how people who had the first Supertones cd were deemed "Old School", the boys went into "Adonai." Matt then stopped again to explain, "there are times in life when it seems too much to bear and God is unfair to us because of what we are going through, but God is able to sympathize with us," prior to singing "Wilderness."
Slowing the pace of the party down a bit, the audience sang together on "Away From You." Tony introduced some new faces of the band, and then preached a mini sermon encouraging those in attendance with these words from 1 John 3:1, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (NIV)
The party atmosphere changed as we all were gathered into groups of 5 to 8 people in prayer. All of the audience then worshiped to "Open the Eyes of My Heart," "Holiness" and Amazing Grace."
There was a long slow and quiet lead which eventually increased in speed and sound as the ‘Tones picked up the dance party again with "Little Man," "Every Single Moment" (with a short guitar solo from Ethan) and "Loud and Clear." After a short moment of darkness where only first time Supertones concert attendees are unsure whether there is an encore, the O.C. boys continued loud and clearly with "Unite", which has become their signature song. Ethan again showed us some of his guitar skills. But then the jumping, skanking, and clapping turned into swaying as they ended nearly two hours of music and message with "Refuge (In Conclusion)."
I have heard the Loud and Clear Dance Party tour is the best Supertones show some have seen. I would tend to agree. Though a lot of the songs sounded very similar to the music as recorded on the cd’s, the energy of the show brought life to the music.