Special Edition Playlist: Relient K, Jellyfish & Switchfoot


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I just saw Relient K and Switchfoot at the House of Blues In Chicago last night and I have to say it was one of the best shows I have seen in a while. I’ve liked both bands throughout their careers (Switchfoot has had 40 songs appear on my personal chart with one song “The Setting Sun” being my #1 song of 2006 and still sounding amazing and fresh to me).


Relient K’s best year on my chart was 2007 with 2 songs in my top 40 of the year, “Forgiven” and one of John’s favorite songs “The Best Thing”. Switchfoot’s was 2004 with 3 songs in my top 25 of the year, “More Than Fine” (another John fav), “Gone” and “Meant To Live”.


These bands, both going on close to 20 years together, are obviously great friends and they are definitely compatible as a concert experience. Relient K is more on the pop punk side of things and Switchfoot more alt rock and perhaps a tad more diverse in their catalog. Of course their Christian roots has lead to extensive Christian radio airplay through the years but both have had mainstream success with Switchfoot outpacing Relient K by a large amount.


Switchfoot hails from San Diego and the band name is a surfing term. The five piece is led by 2 brothers Jon (lead vocalist/guitarist/principal songwriter) and Tim Foreman (bass). The core of the current incarnation of Relient K are 2 Matt’s (Thiessen-lead vocalist, piano; Hoopes-lead guitar) who formed the band while in high school in Canton, Ohio. The band name is based on  Hoopes car at the time, a Plymouth Reliant K.


The Relient K set leaned heavily on their current and 11th studio album “Air For Free”, released in July. At least 6 songs from that release were featured. In the middle of the set were “Runnin’” and “Mountaintop” which I instantly fell in love with. “Runnin’” has a very Jellyfish feel for those who remember that band and “Mountaintop” is just straight out pop rock. Both are destined for high positions on my personal chart with the former almost assured a #1 position.


The Jellyfish influence has been part of their sound for a while as evidenced by the closing epic song “Deathbed” from their most successful album 2007’s “Five Score and Seven Years Ago”. That song also features Jon Foreman from Switchfoot. Jellyfish put out 2 albums between 1990 and 1993 but have been a highly influential band in the power pop genre. Speaking of influences theirs range from the Beatles to Queen, Cheap Trick and XTC. Featured songs on the playlist “Be My Baby”, “The Glutton Of Sympathy”, “Joining A Fanclub”, “Sebrina, Paste & Plato” and  “That Is Why”. In 1999 Jason Faulkner, a member of Jellyfish on the first record, released this song, “Author Unknown” which spent 2 weeks at #1 on my chart and was my #18 song of the year.


Back to the concert. Switchfoot came on as if they were superstars, and in their circle they truly are. They had the crowd singing almost every lyric. It was a very collaborative event and on one song Jon Foreman was cruising through the audience, making it a very personal experience as well. I think part of the enjoyment of the concert (for both bands) was being in a room of true fans. Perhaps that is the Christian music community in general. Regardless, in the insanely devisive climate of the presidential election this year, this was kind of magical. For my husband John, who lost his mother a month ago, I could see that it was. I’m glad that I got the tickets for his birthday but didn’t understand what that impact truly would be. A highlight was the ballad “I Won’t Let You Go” from the current album “Where The Light Shines Through”, that was dedicated to a woman in the audience who was 2 years cancer free.


As I’m writing this I just discovered these 2 songs from their 2013 album “Fading West”- “Say It Like You Mean It” and 2007’s “Oh Gravity”-”Head Over Heels (In This Life)”. With all the songs I listen to it’s always nice to discover new songs from the catalog of a band you’ve loved for a long time. Another concert highlight was the first track on the new album, “Holy Water”. Their set was incredibly diverse in styles from the throbbing “The Sound” to the anthemic “Love Alone Is Worth the Fight”. If you have the chance check these guys on their tour.

By: Radio Tim 
Oct 1, 2016