Material: The Swansons are an amalgamation of retro and modern pop rock with a twist of country. Their sound makes for some fun tunes, but the appeal may not reach past a niche audience. That isn’t to say there isn’t a market for the group to cater to.
In fact, much of their music would be a great contribution to a soundtrack. The song “Where Did Everybody Go” is a dead ringer for a teenage romantic comedy, and the saloon-style “Country This” would be suitable for a show such as Hart of Dixie. Each song is catchy and uptempo, a perfect mix for a series or movie.
Musicianship: What The Swansons are lacking in versatility they make up for with enthusiasm. Even though the Avalon Bardot failed to provide the band an abundant sound balance to allow their musicianship to shine, it’s clear each member brings something unique to the table.
A musical highlight is the keyboard in “Country This,” which lends a distinct and extremely appropriate country flavor to the song.
Performance: Most noteworthy about The Swansons is that Joe and Angie Finley clearly love what they do. It’s apparent that the whole band does, but at this show the leads poured enthusiasm and energy into their performance despite a lackluster crowd. It was a shame to not have seen the band in a setting where people appreciated their spirited performance.
The set list, which was mostly songs from their debut album, hit a high with the closer “I’m Not Going Anywhere.” Any band that can put so much into a performance when saddled with a crowd that isn’t reacting back deserves nothing but respect.
Summary: The Swansons are an ideal band to stumble upon at a bar. With high energy frontmen and catchy songs, they’re certainly capable of entertaining a crowd just looking to go out for a good time. It remains to be seen if the band can build upon its solid foundation and expand for a wider audience.
The Players: Joe Finley, lead vocals, guitar; Angie Finley, vocals, percussion; Joe Alfaro, guitar; Super Dave, bass; Daniel Alexander, keyboards; Joseph Finley Jr., drums.
Venue: Avalon Bardot
City: Los Angeles, CA
Photo by Victoria Patneaude.