The Backseat Lovers avoid a sinking ship

Roadrunner, Boston, June 1, 2023

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Joshua Harmon, the long-haired, mustachioed lead singer of The Backseat Lovers, could not be described as a big personality on stage at least. But the likable front man seemed downright enamored and in awe of the crowd of teens and 20 somethings selling out the 3,500-person venue.

Three songs in, after finishing "Pool House" with the crowd palpably excited and singing along with gusto, Harmon had a big smile sf satisfaction on his face.

Later, the pride of Provo, Utah, Harmon opined, "You guys have a very divine energy." And he later thanked the crowd for a "fantastic evening." Now that's the kind of perfunctory comment one would expect to hear from pretty much any lead singer. Only, Harmon said it like he really meant it.

That's no surprise because this indie rock quartet was not one to stand on airs or show attitude during their 90 minutes on stage that offered instrumental prowess, a few more anthemic songs ready for singalongs (their biggest song, "Kilby Song," of course) from the robust voices in the audience and even a few country songs.

In fact, Harmon and his band mates – drummer Juice Welch, guitarist Jonas Swanson and bassist KJ Ward – often seemed to be bathed in darker lighting tones. Sporting hats and long hair seemed to further anonymize them as personalities.

But not their music. This is a cohesive unit with enough variety and songs of quality to make for a good night of music. There were enough musical twists and turns to keep it interesting. A few songs were more middling, but The Backseat Lovers did not remain there.

The band took a break at one point while Harmon offered back-to-back country chestnuts of "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," often identified with Willie Nelson (Fred Rose wrote it) and "Folsom Prison Blues," the Johnny Cash song. Harmon put just enough of his own stamp on the songs to make them his own, particularly "Folsom Prison Blues," where he veered further from the original. No matter what the genre, the crowd seemed ready to support Harmon, who didn't really need to sing at times because he had a chorus of thousands to do the work.

Harmon's mates quickly returned for a change of pace with the elongated "Out of Tune," a song about devotion by the band members to the group at its outset.

The Backseat Lovers closed out with a softer number, "Sinking Ship," about a relationship going south. Based on this night, that would not have been a reference to The Backseat Lovers' career or fan support.

© Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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