‘Louden Swain’ Keeps It Weird in Austin

Rob Benedict and Michael Borja © Illy/Super Inspired Photography, Staff Photographer

February 23, 2019 marked the first time Louden Swain played in Austin, Texas. It also marked the first time Michael Borja, and Billy Moran were even in the city, and we had several staff members in attendance! Austin was fortunate enough to not only get one show, but two, complete with a costume change in between (very rock and roll boys)! A few of us (Amanda, Mikayla, Finn, and Brianna) wanted to share a little bit about our experience:

Amanda:

In the past, we have posted articles detailing fan experiences at Louden Swain shows and done write ups about what went on during the night, and one of our writers, Finn, briefly touched on something in their article about the ‘Once Upon a Canyon Night’ show in August of 2018 that I would like to expand on; what makes Louden Swain shows so special for every single person involved.

It all starts outside the venue, while you are waiting in line. Everyone is standing around, chatting with one another, catching up on the goings on of each others lives since the last time they were able to meet up. If you are walking into the night, not knowing what to expect, not knowing many people, or feeling anxious about the night in any way, that will not last long. You will quickly make new friends standing in the line around you, you will hear stories of previous shows (including band mishaps that add a real comedic value to the night), and you will more than likely feel like you have known these people for a long time and feel right at home in the middle of it all. If you are one of the lucky fans that get a VIP ticket, you hang out with the band for a little while before the concert starts, asking questions, taking pictures with guys, and chatting with them for a few moments. Unlike at the Supernatural conventions, where most fans were introduced to the band, you get to hear from each member individually and get a better understanding of who they are as people, each member has a unique sense of humor that blends well with one another. They give hilarious, sometimes off the wall, answers to whatever questions you may have. Then comes the start of the concert and the second the audience spots the guys walk in, the noise level goes up and does not come back down until the guys have disappeared backstage after the show is over. Throughout the night Rob Benedict will keep you laughing with in-song commentary, Mike Borja will make you want to dance right along with him, Stephen Norton will keep the rhythm bouncing, and Billy Moran will warm your heart when he closes his eyes, smiles and sways when the audience takes over singing certain lyrics.

Speaking of fans singing, sometimes Rob will forget to keep up with the lyrics on his iPad and, understandably, trip over a few words here and there and when that happens, one of the most amazing things you, as a fan, will ever witness/be apart of happens; the audience seamlessly takes over singing until he can catch back up. Like Rob said several times during these two Austin shows, we are a family, we have each others backs. That is honestly one of the most beautiful things I have ever been witness to, and it will take a lot for anything else to surpass that feeling.

Stephen Norton © Illy/Super Inspired Photography, Staff Photographer

Mikayla:

If you have never seen Louden Swain in concert, let me tell you, you are missing out! I first discovered Louden Swain at the Supernatural conventions and immediately fell in love. Fast forward two years and when they announced a show in Austin, Texas, it was a no brainer that I would be attending. Seeing them in a con setting versus in an actual concert setting are two completely different atmospheres. At a con, they are putting on a show for the audience that consists of show fans but when they are putting on an actual rock concert for fans of the band, the atmosphere shifts.

Despite both sets starting a little after the scheduled time, the band came on to the stage ready to put on a phenomenal show, and the audience could tell. With Rob being the front man with his insane vocals, Billy being a complete master at guitar shredding, Mike’s incredible skills of bass and keyboard playing at the same time and Stephen tying it all together extraordinarily with the drums, it was no surprise that the audiences were rocking out to every song with the band.

With a song list from eight different albums, both sets played by the band were two entirely different set lists with songs ranging from their new acoustic album ‘Splitting the Seams’ from which they played ‘Amazing’ all the way to their 2001 album Able-Legged Heroes where ‘Prom,’ a Louden Swain classic, was played. Rob said it during the first set but the vibes and atmosphere the band put off really made it seem like we were watching old friends doing what they love and not just a random band we enjoyed. I hope Louden Swain continues to be the absolute rock stars that they are and continues to make music that touches people’s hearts and souls.

Rob Benedict and Michael Borja © Illy/Super Inspired Photography, Staff Photographer

Finn:

This was my eighth time seeing Swain live and they never disappoint. I heard 7 songs I had never heard live, which was amazing. I had the best time with friends and the band, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Billy Moran © Illy/Super Inspired Photography, Staff Photographer

Brianna:

This was my first time attending a Louden Swain concert, and all I can say is it was worth the wait! I was absolutely blown away by the amazing show these guys put on. It’s clear that they pour their whole heart into every single song, and feed off the energy of the crowd.

Watching Louden Swain rock out over the course of four hours is something I can only hope every fan gets the chance to witness. Each show was unique (they even changed their shirts!) with zero repeated songs, which was an amazing treat for those of us that attended both shows. They never once lost energy and even when a guitar or two had to be tuned (and made odd noises), we all laughed right along with the band.

It really felt, as Rob said, “like one big family.” I was a casual Louden Swain fan before Austin, Texas, but I am now a Louden Swain fan for life and will make sure to attend as many concerts as I can in the future. If you ever get the chance to go and wonder if you should, the answer is absolutely yes! Thank you Louden Swain for two fantastic shows.

All in all, what we are trying to say is, Louden Swain shows are not just concerts where the band plays the gig, gets paid, and goes home; these shows are about a portion of a very large family getting the opportunity to come together and just be who they are; we just also happen to be hanging out with four of the nicest, most talented musicians out there. There is no judgement, there is no hate, there is nothing but love and pure joy. So to Rob, Billy, Mike, and Stephen, on behalf of Swainers far and wide, we say thank you. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to hang out with you, thank you for being accepting, thank you for playing your music for us, and thank you for creating an atmosphere in which every person feels welcome and loved.

The complete set-list is as follows. An asterisk signifies the song was played acoustically.

1st show:

Present Time

Bandaged Hand

Like the Heart Goes

Poptart Heart

Juliet

CA Nation*

Ready Steady*

Silverspoon*

Too Far Away*

Holiday*

Crooked Wheel

Here Come The Snakes

Taxi Driver

Leg Up

Cast Off

Prom

This Is How

Medicated

2nd show:

Reunion

Suit and Tie

Only Lyin

Wave

Trigger Finger

All I Need

Overachiever*

A Lot to Learn*

Rock Song*

Undergrad

Downtown Letdown

Amazing

Worlds Collide

Help You

Hey Darlin

Codependent

Alright

Mrs. Vance

Gamma Ray

Mamma’s Jam

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