Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman ‘embracing chaos’ with pop-up shows

For musicians, playing 25 shows in 25 days is no easy task. But Switchfoot guitarist and lead singer Jon Foreman has an even more difficult challenge ahead of him: 25 pop-up gigs over 24 hours.

“It’s going to be a wild ride,” said the Encinitas resident. “I love the spontaneity, I love embracing the chaos.”

The kick-off concert will be held at 11 a.m. on Oct. 24 at Bro-Am Studios, a pay-what-you-can music school for youth that Switchfoot recently opened in downtown Encinitas. From there, the one-day tour will zigzag across San Diego, from Foreman’s favorite rock clubs to the beach he grew up surfing to taco shops.

“For one show, I’m going to be playing at a Mexican restaurant with a mariachi band,” Foreman said with a laugh. He added some of his favorite musicians will join him along the way.

“All the places I’m going, for me, have a story or meaning behind them,” Foreman said.

Many of the sets will be open to the public, and for the most part, just where he’ll play is a secret for now. Once Foreman wraps up each show, he’ll post the next location via his Twitter and Instagram accounts (his handle for both is @jonforeman).

A few of the concerts will be private, including a wedding and a performance for patients at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

The round-the-clock tour is the culmination of “The Wonderlands,” Foreman’s latest solo release, which features a song for each hour of the day, broken into four EPs.

“I used the metaphor of light and darkness to talk about death and life, faith and doubt, love and fear, and all these contradictory poles we’re stretched between as humans,” Foreman said of the four EPs.

The 24-hour project was also inspired by Foreman’s spontaneous, intimate after-shows following Switchfoot concerts.

“I’ll play mellower songs that might not fit into a Switchfoot set,” Foreman said. “How it works is I’ll go out into the parking lot behind the venue, or a coffee shop or a bar down the street, let people know with social media and keep the music going.”

He added: “The 25 shows in 24 hours is the craziest extension of that thinking.”

Along with the 11 a.m. set on Oct. 24 at Bro-Am Studios, he’ll play two other sets at the spot, 8 p.m. on Oct. 24 and 9 a.m. Oct. 25. Tickets are required for those shows, with proceeds benefitting the Switchfoot Bro-Am Foundation, which over the past decade has raised more than $1 million for San Diego-based children’s charities.

Tickets and his EPs can be found at jonforeman.com.

Foreman said the logistics of playing so many places will be, quite frankly, a nightmare. But, he added, that’s all part of the whirlwind experience.

For his 24-song collection, Foreman aimed to capture the mood of each hour of the day. With evening, for instance, he leaned on cello, bass and back-up female singers “with that kind of vibe.”

“It’s a little more mysterious at that time, light is turning to dark,” he said.

The biggest challenge wasn’t writing so much music, but rather making disparate songs feel like they’re part of a cohesive whole. He feels many of them are united by their confessional, quiet nature.

“Music for me is where you get a bit of perspective and clarity,” Foreman said. “Songs have always done that for me.”

And while a huge undertaking, he can’t wait for the pop-up shows.

“Sometimes the best moments are unplanned.”

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