The Backseat Lovers with Sleepy Gonzales

Zanzabar, Louisville, KY, Aug 2021

My first official live show since the beginning of the pandemic, this concert certainly did not disappoint. The Backseat Lovers have been a band on my radar for about a year now, as soon as their breakout 2019 debut album featuring their hit “Kilby Girl” first hit my ear.

Luckily, a fellow writer here at SnowSound and I were able to secure tickets to their sold out tour this year, and went to see their August show at Zanzabar (I guess purposefully misspelled as branding) in Louisville, KY. 

Now before we get into the stellar performance The Backseat Lovers put in, let’s give a big shoutout to the openers on the night and this leg of the tour, Sleepy Gonzales. 

Sleepy Gonzales is actually a group I had never heard of prior to seeing their name on the card for this concert. Prior to going I listened to some of their music and got the impression they were a fairly laidback chill-rock, jangly, and lo-fi group making some cool tunes that are great to listen and relax or groove to. Live, however, Sleepy blew me away with an incredible showing especially from the group’s drummer, who as far as I can tell is just called Beni (his twin brother Christian is guitarist and vocalist alongside the haunting singing of fellow vocalist and guitarist Ally). But damn, Beni was going off during the band’s performance, punctuating the buildup of each song and lead the crashing breakdown of each live track that was played. Being right next to the drum kit against the stage certainly enhanced the experience for us. 

Sleepy Gonzales introduced themselves as a band from Surrey, BC, Canada, so they were touring far from their homeground, but suffice it to say although few in the crowd probably had any idea who they were going into the show, they left a strong impression on everyone. 

Front-persons Christian and Ally of Sleepy Gonzales, Zanzabar, Louisville, KY. August 17, 2021

Standouts from their live set included their first song “Aliens Exist” which when they introduced it I assumed would be a cover of Blink-182 for some reason, but it wasn’t. And don’t @ me, but I think it’s the best song called “Aliens Exist.” Also “Sally on the Avenue” was probably the most memorable from the live performance. Give these guys a look below. 

As for The Backseat Lovers, they absolutely crushed it. Nothing against Sleepy Gonzales, obviously, but once the headline set got underway the crowd of largely 16-year-olds got hyped!

(Seriously though, the crowd was almost entirely underage, it was probably the first time where I actually felt really old. Lots of moms in the crowd to keep an eye on their kids, it was just kind of weird. But, I do get it, because it was a Tuesday night show there weren’t going to be a lot of young professionals, and I think it was still before the college semester of Louisville got started.)

Anyway, The Backseat Lovers killed every song they played. Things got to their peak once “Kilby Girl” started playing and the entire crowd went nuts, singing along to every word. It was admittedly a little awkward singing the line “I overhead she was 19, with a fake ID” whilst in a crowd of largely 19-and-youngers and their moms, but it really didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the music. 

Even after playing their big hit, the songs only got better, ultimately leading to a couple renditions of brand new songs not yet released coming from a new album in the works. It ended with an excellent encore of “Sinking Ship.”

If you get the chance to catch either one of these bands live coming up, take my advice and buy the tickets, see the show. 

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