Music Critic Polly Watton reviews The Backseat Lovers gig at the O2 Academy Birmingham on the 9th March, describing it as ‘a humble yet incredible performance’

Written by pollywatton

American alt-rock band The Backseat Lovers gave a wholesome performance at the 02 Academy on Thursday 9 th March 2023, after a successful four years of supporting tours, embarking on their own tours, and climbing up the charts. As a fairly long-term listener, but not 100% sure of the personality of the band, I was expecting a high energy and slightly domineering stage presence. However, when The Backseat Lovers braced the stage, what became clear was their chilled out and humble nature. This was a breath of fresh air and actually made the concert more enjoyable.

The supporting act Junodream, gave an impressive performance. Sometimes supporting acts do not encapsulate the full attention of the crowd, but this was not the case. The audience clapped and danced along to their music, which embodied a vibe similar to that of Radiohead, including many instrumental interludes which were mesmerising to listen to. When speaking to lead singer Ed Vyvyan after their performance, he told me that Radiohead were in fact a ‘huge inspiration to them.’ Ed also seemed to be inspired and influenced by The Backseat Lovers, and at the end of their set told the audience that they were in for an ‘absolutely f***ing phenomenal,’ performance.

This was a breath of fresh air and actually made the concert more enjoyable

Ed was certainly right; The Backseat Lovers did give a phenomenal performance. After a brief pre-show setlist including jazz tracks from the likes of Frank Sinatra, The Backseat Lovers appear on stage in darkness- their silhouettes standing out on the stage and the crowd wooing and screaming for their imminent performance. After two lively songs, ‘silhouette’ and ‘close your eyes,’ and an energetic response throughout the crowd, the band finally introduce themselves, ‘Hello, thank you so much, we’re the backseat lovers. We came to play some music for you, and we’re going to go ahead and do that.’ After the humble introduction, the beginning of ‘pool house’ began to play and because of this being my favourite song from them, my excitement was immeasurable. The crowd evidently enjoyed the song too and sang along to every word, the catchy and powerful chorus lyrics ringing out across the venue.

After an engaging performance of ‘growing/dying,’ and ‘heavy,’ The Backseat Lovers began their most popular song ‘Kilby girl,’ their 2019 single which has accumulated over 200 million streams on Spotify. The popularity was evident in the venue, as numerous video-recording phones quickly rose up above the heads of the audience. After being told that they were, ‘trying out a new song,’ by front-man Josh Harmon, they proceeded to play ‘no takebacks,’ which had a stand-out guitar riff. Although a powerful singing voice, when Josh spoke to the audience, he was soft-spoken and humble. After this song he stated, ‘sometimes I feel like the biggest dork, like who gave this guy a microphone,’ encapsulating his humble nature. In response to this, a few members of the crowd screamed, ‘we love you,’ and reinforced the overall wholesome nature of the show.

The popularity was evident in the venue, as numerous video-recording phones quickly rose up above the heads of the audience

After performances of ‘know your name,’ ‘slowing down,’ and ‘maple syrup,’ they finished with one of my personal favourites, ‘still a friend.’ However, this was not enough for the eager listeners, and ‘one more song’ chants swept through the audience. In response to this, Josh generously stated that they would perform two more, and they rounded off the incredible evening with ‘Out of Tune,’ and ‘Sinking Ship.’

‘Thank y’all, it’s been a really amazing time,’ Josh beamed at the audience, as they continued the roaring applause. A humble yet incredible performance from The Backseat Lovers, paired with a brilliant range of album coverage, the crowd seemed grateful and satisfied with the show.


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