Home Live Review Live Review: The Backseat Lovers @ The Anthem — 5/30/23

Live Review: The Backseat Lovers @ The Anthem — 5/30/23

Live Review: The Backseat Lovers @ The Anthem — 5/30/23
The Backseat Lovers perform at The Anthem in DC on May 30, 2023. (Photo by Marc Shea)

I’ll preface this article by stating that sometimes it pays to listen to your kids’ music. I first heard The Backseat Lovers back in 2019 when my kids insisted that I listen to the song “Pool House” from their album When We Were Friends. I liked it. I really liked it! I even listened on my own. So when I saw they were playing The Anthem, I figured I would check out the show. I am so glad I listened to my kids!

Since that first listen, the band has released some singles and a new album, Waiting To Spill. 

Stream Waiting To Spill by The Backseat Lovers on Spotify:

I had a good feeling when the band opened their concert at The Anthem on May 30 with a long intro jam. It was psychedelic, energetic, and extended, which is great when you’re shooting from the photo pit! Unlike a lot of “jams”, it wasn’t over-indulgent. The band used it as a way to warm up, seemingly getting lost in the music. One song in and each player thrashing around, jumping, dancing, and moving all over the stage. It set a great tone for the rest of the show.

The Anthem is the perfect venue for The Backseat Lovers. The sound and lighting were perfect. The atmosphere was electric! And if you take the time to stop and look around during the show, you get the feeling that you’re in a classic band documentary, the way the theater is set up. 

The lead singer and guitarist, Joshua Harmon, seems to have felt this, too. He was soft-spoken and quiet when he spoke between songs, looking like he was trying to absorb every moment. And I don’t blame him. The crowd was great — singing along, dancing, swaying, and generally having the time of their lives, from what I could see.

The Backseat Lovers hail from Utah and are made up of Joshua Harmon on vocals and guitar, Jonas Swanon also on guitar, KJ Ward on bass, and Juice Welch on drums. The band has a classic indie rock sound. Some songs, Like Heavy and Snowbank Blues lean to the softer side of the genre. Other songs like Watch Your Mouth and Know Your Name are a little bit heavier.

But most of their music mixes light and shade like “Pool House,” “Growing/Dying,” “Kilby Girl,” and “Maple Syrup.” The way the music builds is a testament to their musicianship. It’s one thing to create musical tension in the studio; doing it well on stage is another story. The Backseat Lovers may even be better doing it live than on their albums and singles.

In addition to playing a great mix of tracks from both albums and their singles, they also introduced a new song called Waterfront in the middle of the set. As expected, the audience loved it. They returned to previously recorded material but included another jam towards the end of the set.

They left the stage after “Still A Friend,” but only for a brief stint. They returned for a two-song encore of Snowbank Blues. This is the point in the show where Joshua introduced himself and played the song solo. “Sinking Ship” was the last song of the night. They extended the song and gathered around Juice’s drum kit, jamming and really getting into it. The tension kept building and building and finally released with Joshua launching his guitar 15 feet or so into the air! 

I went to the show as a casual fan and left excited for the next time they come to town!


  • Intro Jam
  • Know Your Name
  • Pool House
  • Growing/Dying
  • Heavy
  • Watch Your Mouth
  • Kilby Girl
  • Waterfront
  • Out Of Tune
  • Slowing Down
  • Maple Syrup
  • Interlude Jam
  • Still A Friend


  • Snowbank Blues
  • Sinking Ship

Here are some photos of The Backseat Lovers performing at The Anthem on May 30, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.


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