NEW YORK — Fans of the highly popular Christian bands Switchfoot and Relient K have helped raise over $40,000 toward efforts of Habitat for Humanity, reported Switchfoot's lead singer, Jon Foreman, during a tour stop in New York City Saturday.
A crowd of approximately 2,500-3,000 packed the Hammerstein Ballroom to watch the audience-engaging performances by Switchfoot and Relient K, who were joined by newcomer Ruth.
The two co-headlining bands are currently playing on their Appetite for Construction tour, where $1 of every ticket sold is donated toward Habitat for Humanity, an organization committed to eliminating poverty housing and homelessness in the United States and abroad through various house-building projects.
Switchfoot had previously described the partnership with Habitat as "a chance for us all to get plugged in to being a part of the solution in our own communities."
Ruth, a new rock band on the Tooth and Nail label, was the first to take the stage, playing songs from their debut album Secondhand Dreaming.
Ohio-based punk rock band Relient K captivated the audience, most of them between the ages 15-21, with hits from their fifth full-length album Five Score and Seven Years Ago.
Many sang along and jumped up and down as the group performed popular titles such as "I Need You," "The Best Thing," "Forgiven," "Must Have Done Something Right," and "Give Until There's Nothing Left."
Switchfoot performed songs from their sixth album Oh! Gravity Oh! Gravity and some from their 2003 double-platinum selling album The Beautiful Letdown.
As the group performed, one fan held up a sign reading, "Love is a MOVEMENT."
Matt Thiessen, the band's lead singer, later took the stage with Foreman to sing a song called "Rebuild," which they co-wrote especially for the tour.
The song, written in the summer, took on a deeper meaning for both of the bands when Relient K's bus was destroyed by a fire and Switchfoot's hometown of San Diego was hit by severe fires.
"Oh we're the regeneration. Oh with time to kill. Oh we're the regeneration. Oh rebuild, rebuild," states the chorus of the song.
The bands have decided to allow the song for free download as a way to encourage a philanthropic spirit among their fans.
One fan included the cousin of Relient K's bassist player John Warne.
Bret Warne, 21, told The Christian Post that the music helps him to "re-focus" as he goes through rough patches at this stage in his life.
He commented that while sermons by pastors in church carry important messages for his life, Christian music from bands like Relient K and Switchfoot resonate with him on a different level because they are from performers in his generation.
"I think it's great that a lot of people in the audience see guys at the same age speaking to them," said Warne, attending the concert with two other friends from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
"Pastors are speaking to such general audiences and they are addressing a whole congregation. I mean it kind of relates to you but you can zone in when these guys speak about exactly what you're dealing with. So I think that's why a lot of people out here can relate to this because it's hitting them hard."
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the three bands are scheduled to visit venues on the West Coast to top off their 30-city tour.
On the Web: Download the free "Rebuild" song by clicking here.