August 10, 2019.
I’m still not quite sure if it was the hometown location, the boisterous crowd, or the awesome venue, but this show was just a bit different than any other Louden Swain show I’ve been in attendance for – it was magical.
Louden Swain were light, happy, joyous, and having so much fun on stage.
The Echo & Echoplex in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles was where the concert was held. It was standing room only, with seating around the edges, and it provided a great location for a rock and roll show. The sound filled the room, as it should at a Louden Swain show.
The band was joined by the Black Crystal Wolf Kids as their opening act. Touted as ‘LA’s only indie-rock tribute band’, the Kids have enjoyed a long friendship with Swain, even getting Rob Benedict to join them for an incredible rendition of Weezer’s ‘Say It Ain’t So’. This group ramped up the energy in the room, with the whole crowd singing along. If you get the chance to see them live, you really should – they are a LOT of fun.
Next, it was time for the headliners, Louden Swain. Lead singer Rob Benedict, guitarist Billy Moran, bassist Michael Borja, and drummer Stephen Norton took the stage. Celebrating 20 years as an LA-based indie rock band this year, Louden Swain has become a mainstay on Creation Entertainment‘s Salute to Supernatural Convention circuit, but has a slightly different vibe when away from the con stage. They can branch out into songs they don’t get to play as often when the whole show is theirs.
They started strong, with fan favorite ‘Reunion’ and did not slow down until the last note of ‘Mamma’s Jam’. The band was feeding the crowd, and I’d like to think we were giving it back to them in spades. Rolling into ‘Suit & Tie’, ‘January’, and ‘Like the Heart Goes’, they kept the crowd pumped up and dancing along. ‘Present Time’ led into the “Splitting the Seams” version of ‘Rock Song’ (which I truly believe to be a brilliant reimagining of the original song – the strings, ah!)
Perhaps as an homage to their hometown locale, we also got the acoustic version of ‘CA Nation’ – another crowd pleaser. Then we veered into the different side of a stand-alone Swain show. We got ‘Alright’ and the first ever performance of ‘Boy In Need’. Benedict joked about ‘Boy In Need’ that Norton had never played drums on it live until sound check! ‘Better’ and ‘Taxi Driver’ segued into ‘Be Me’ and ‘Honeybee’ – two songs I had never gotten to hear live before.
The evening was finished out with ‘This is How’, ‘Amazing’, ‘Kind of Guy’, and ‘Mamma’s Jam’. There was never a drop in the energy or the joy from the band or from the room. Some of the bands’ family and friends were on hand, and it was great to see them getting into the show (and filming it right along with us).
Benedict was on fire with vocals. Borja and Norton’s harmonies were on point. Moran’s guitar skills were on fire as usual, and he even snuck a harmony or two in there. These guys have an incredible amount of talent, and it is always a joy to watch them play live. If you do get the chance to see a Louden Swain show, I highly recommend it.
You can see them now performing as part of Creation Entertainment’s Supernatural conventions, and keep an eye out for tour dates! During the VIP part of the show, they mentioned they’re hoping to play Austin in January and Boston in March.