Livestream Los Angeles, CA
Players: Rob Benedict, lead vocals, guitar; Billy Moran, guitar; Michael Borja, bass; Stephen Norton, drums
Material: Alternative rock, with a twist of Americana, would be an oversimplification. Though these elements are robustly present, this seasoned and spirited outfit put forth their own spin, touching upon multiple genres. A fixture on the L.A. music scene, in pre-pandemic times they toured extensively. The band, formed a decade ago, is fronted by actor-musician Rob Benedict (Supernatural, Felicity, on the CW network), and offers a broad and varied repertoire of originals spanning eight studio albums. Themes jockey between life issues, relationship mishaps, and various other quirky occurrences, all expressed in an unsentimental but unique fashion. Song topics occasionally highlight the absurd but believable side of a situation. In “Medicated,” Benedict asks: It seems like you’re a little strange/ Why can’t you be a little less insane/ I may be crazy but at least I’m medicated.” With its singable chorus and meaty subject matter, “Amazing,” looks at drug addiction: Take me to your leader/ Put me in my place/ With a little smoke and mirrors/ And a little bit of fate…rescued from the needle/ Give me a little taste/ Of your amazing grace.
Musicianship: Rob Benedict’s vocals have a smooth grittiness that fits in well with sub-genres in the music. The band demonstrates a unity that only comes from hours logged playing together. With tasty guitar licks, bass lines and interesting drum patterns, it all works.
Performance: Benedict is a natural frontman. As an actor, he brings another dimension to the performance. His comfort level in front of the camera gives him a leg up in a streaming medium. Immersing himself in song intro banter, as well as off-the-cuff small talk, Benedict does it with ease. While deserving kudos for their prolific penning of originals, it would have been a treat to hear the band take on a huge and widely known cover song, no doubt putting an interesting spin on it. It’s also a good way to reel in new fans with something familiar. The show was initially billed as a 30-minute segment, but the hosting platform neglected to stop the stream, so the band kept playing as though the additional songs were part of the set list, taking fan requests as well.
Summary: Musically tight and prolific, Louden Swain is a good example of how a band works together and stays together. It would be gratifying to hear their interpretation of a big cover song.