The Backseat Lovers are back on U.S. soil after wrapping up their Australia and New Zealand tour back in February, marking their LA show as the 7th stop in the Waiting to Spill North American tour. The Hollywood Palladium was packed to the brim last Wednesday, with excitement running through the crowd of what seemed to mainly be members of Gen Z. Despite the large venue, the stage set-up felt cozy and intimate, with lots of patterned rugs spread across the stage floor.
The Backseat Lovers were right on time at 9pm, opening the set with an eery rock instrumental, along with dark red lighting and fog completing the vibe perfectly. Lead singer and guitarist, Joshua Harmon has vocals like no other, effortlessly gut wrenching and true to his sound. They played all the hits, old and new, all throughout the almost 2 hour set. I was surprised to hear their biggest hit “Kilby Girl” only halfway through, as I would have guessed it would be their encore, but it was a great break between darker songs to get the crowd moving and singing along.
With a show filled with so many highlights, it’s tough to pick only a few moments that stand out. “Slowing Down”, the band’s last single before the release of Waiting to Spill, was definitely a part of the set to remember. The heartbeat of the song is instilled with its heavy baseline, played by the insanely talented KJ Ward, as well as its pounding drum line, kept up by drummer Juice Welsh. The Backseat Lovers definitely know how to read the crowd, and sang a fan favorite, “Olivia”, because of a suggestion from an audience member. I personally love when artists do this, as it brings a sort of intimacy that you don’t always get at larger shows nowadays. The band closed out the set with three encore songs, “Snowbank Blues”, featuring only Joshua Harmon on acoustic guitar and Jonas Swanson on keys, “Words I Used”, and “Sinking Ship” with the whole quartet back on stage.
The last time I was supposed to see The Backseat Lovers was actually in Berlin, Germany back in February as part of their European leg of the tour. The show was unfortunately canceled due to lead singer, Joshua, getting sick, so this was my first time seeing them live. I had only heard good things about their live performances, so my expectations were through the roof, and I can honestly say they were exceeded. They play the perfect mix of harder rock and more mellow tunes, while continuously extending their gratitude to the audience.
The Backseat Lovers continue their Waiting to Spill North American Tour now through June, before playing festivals all throughout the U.S. in July and August. If you’re looking for consistency and killer vocals in a band, The Backseat Lovers are not ones to miss in a city near you.
Words and photos by Paige Good