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Backseat Lovers Play Leeds Stylus

Sophie Fennely reviews...

On Tuesday night, American alternative rock band The Backseat Lovers took to Stylus stage as part of their UK headline tour promoting their second studio album Waiting to Spill. The venue that is infamous for its inconvenient layout was overflowing, with people even standing on the stairs in hopes of catching a glimpse of the four-man act. Yet the inability to see the stage did not stop fans from openly enjoying the music, with people dancing together and singing at the top of their lungs throughout the gig.

Perhaps somewhat unusually, the band’s opening was understated. Making no time for introductions, they immediately launched into their ‘Intro Jam’, a regular opening number. In fact, it wasn’t until after their first few songs that the lead singer and guitarist, Joshua Harmon, introduced the act. They were markedly untalkative, rarely even introducing their songs, with the band clearly having made the decision to let their music speak for itself. And that it did. Of course, it was the band’s most popular song Kilby Girl that has amassed over 200 million streams on Spotify that made the crowd go particularly wild. The audience was notably energetic and enthusiastic throughout, a real testament to the band’s performance given the extremely high temperature of the venue.

The band continued to play through a mix of well-known hits such as Maple Syrup and some of the newer tracks from their recent album,‘Slowing Down’, and particularly struck a good balance between fan service and the promotion of new work – although I, for one, was a little disappointed that my personal favourite Olivia did not appear on the setlist. Despite their general lack of audience interaction, the band were keen to check on the wellbeing of the audience, especially necessary under Stylus’ heat, making sure that everyone was okay on multiple occasions throughout the show. Harmon also shared an anecdote from their last visit to Leeds in which they were bemused by the crowd’s chanting of ‘Yorkshire’, mistaking it for ‘you’re shit’ – a common misunderstanding made by North American bands performing across Yorkshire. Naturally, this prompted an enthusiastic chorus from the audience that the band had to wait out before moving on with the show.

They ended the first instalment of their set with their usual ‘Outro Jam’ which was followed by a wave of shouts for ‘one more song’ intertwined with a revival of the ‘Yorkshire’ chant. Having been coaxed back onto the stage for an encore, the band ended with a song from each album, starting with Snowbank Blues and finishing with Sinking Ship, leaving the stage for a final time to a rousing applause. With both the audience and the band clearly loving the show, we can only hope that Leeds will remain a regular fixture on their future UK tours.


Words: Sophie Fennely

Image credit: Livewire


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