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Sleepy Gonzalez & The Backseat Lovers @ The Troubadour [9/19/21]

Written by on September 20, 2021

Photographs by Maija Fiedelholtz

The Backseat Lovers and their album When We Were Friends (2019) is an album that has long frequented playlists, accompanied many road trips, late nights, and sweet moments in life.

Sleepy Gonzalez and The Backseat Lovers’ names lighting up the Troubadour’s marquee; a surreal sight beckoning fans inside. Upon entering the Troubadour, the intimate venue instantly envelops you. The small stage is illuminated by a glowing sign reading: Troubadour. All sides of the venue are just feet away from center stage.

The lights come down, Sleepy Gonzalez, an eclectic indie rock group hailing from Canada, take the stage. As they open up their set, the crowd blossoms to life. “Lucky charms”, “Johnny Brave”, and “Alligators” are just a few of the many fan favorite songs from their setlist. The band’s stage presence is astounding, their closeness as a band is extremely apparent, like they were meant to play together. Song after song in their set, the atmosphere in The Troubadour swells.

The lights come down, Sleepy Gonzalez, an eclectic indie rock group hailing from Canada, take the stage. As they open up their set, the crowd blossoms to life. “Lucky charms”, “Johnny Brave”, and “Alligators” are just a few of the many fan favorite songs from their setlist. The band’s stage presence is astounding, their closeness as a band is extremely apparent, like they were meant to play together. Song after song in their set, the atmosphere in The Troubadour swells.

One of the crowd’s favorite moments, based on their raucous response, occurs as the band plays “Sally on the Avenue”. The group’s lead vocalist, Ally, remarks that this is her favorite song to perform; it’s clear as she pours her heart and soul into the performance. The instrumentation has provides a special shining moment to each song, rushing and flowing to carry along Ally’s dreamlike voice. Sleepy Gonzalez’s performance (ironically) was like a daydream, one full of want, love, and beauty.

After Sleepy Gonzalez finished their set, it was clear to see that the crowd was waiting in anticipation for the main act, The Backseat Lovers, to take the stage. After around 20 minutes of waiting, instrumentals began to swirl through the venue. The lights stayed dimmed as The Backseat Lovers took the stage, playing a beautiful instrumental break into their opening song “Pool House”. The crowd was live and they followed this energy by playing some of their songs “Just a Boy”, “Pictures”, and “Dugout”. The instrumentals ebbed and flowed in between each song, swelling for their more heart-aching songs such as “Heavy” and bursting for their energetic songs, crowd favorites like “Kilby Girl” and “Out of Tune”. They performed a mix of songs, new and old showing the range of their discography and performance. 

With the close of Sleepy Gonzalez’s set, the crowd’s anticipation for the main act, The Backseat Lovers, is palpable. Instrumentals swirl through the venue and the lights are dim as The Backseat Lovers take the stage. The beautiful instrumental breaks into their opening song “Pool House”. The band enhance the crowd’s energy with songs, “Just a Boy”, “Pictures”, and “Dugout”. The instrumentals ebb and flow in between each song. The set list spans from more heart-aching songs like “Heavy” to bursting energetic crowd favorite songs like “Kilby Girl” and “Out of Tune”. The setlist is a mix of songs new and old, demonstrating the range of their discography.

The crowd is hushed into an abrupt silence with the begining of one of the band’s new songs “Slowing Down”. The audience holds their breath. The complimentary sounds of the band floods the room and sweeps away the crowd. 

The Backseat Lovers brought something beautiful out that night, the audience testifies to this by singing their hearts out to every song. Chants for an encore ring out almost immediately after the band finish their ‘last’ song. After a performance like that, the crowd needs more.

The frontman explains that ever since they’ve been a band, they’ve always made it a tradition to perform “Sinking Ship” for the encore. This tradition is perhaps of greatest importance to the group as it allows them to release all the weight off their shoulders. In fact, they’ve said this song is for those that have ever felt “boxed up and closed in”.

The Backseat Lovers put their all into the encore, the crowd becomes one and the same – everyone sharing in the experience of the moment together. It was a grand, beautiful end to a brilliant performance.

The live performance was beyond belief and a truly phenomenal shared experience. Sleepy Gonzalez and The Backseat Lovers injected new life into The Troubadour that night.


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