After spending a Saturday evening recently at “Jammin’ Java” for an evening of live music from The Weather Station, Team GDW would return to this wonderful venue just 48 hours later to experience another Canadian band live in concert. Currently touring a few select cities across the Eastern US, indie-rockers Current Swell made a triumphant return to VA and shared many tracks from their most recent “When To Talk And When To Listen” album.
With no opening act to serve the warm-up duties, Current Swell were introduced to the stage pretty early, and did not disappoint with a 15 track/80 minute live show. Co-vocalists/guitarists Dave Lang and Scott Stanton were joined on stage by long-time drummer Chris Petersen, and original bassist Louis Sadava, returning from a previous leave of absence due to fatherhood. Rounding out the crew was the addition of Phil Hamelin, adding both keyboards and some fantastic trumpet work throughout the evening.
Hailing from Vancouver Island, BC, Current Swell may very well be labelled as another indie-rock band, but once you listen to their music, you quickly detect many influences that form the basis of their unique style. From blues-rock (Scott adds lap-guitar with some amazing slide work) and surf-rock, to reggae and ska, the band has a seemingly natural ability to blend all of these genres and create something much more than a generic indie-rock sound. Whether you lean towards guitar driven music with catchy riffs and melodies, or the tantalizing sound of Caribbean vibes and reggae dance beats, Current Swell will satisfy both cravings with their captivating and energetic show.
Launching immediately into two of the tracks from the new album, the guitar melodies of “It Ain’t Right” were followed by the reggae inspired “Woman In White,” satisfying your tastes, no matter which musical influences you prefer. Albeit a 2017 release, the new album was still being very much promoted for this mini US tour, meaning that audiences would be delighted to hear cuts such as the “You Got It Easy,” “Marsha” and of course, the title track from their current album. Current Swell just added an EP to streaming services featuring acoustic versions of songs from the new album, and would not only announce this during the show, but would perform “Use Me Like You Do” as an acoustic piece on this night.
Both Scott and Dave were more than willing to converse with the intimate crowd in between tracks, giving a shout out to somebody celebrating a birthday, and offering gratitude to an entourage of fans who had journeyed from Nashville, TN. Scott would mention an up-coming European tour, to which folks from Nashville stated that they’d love to come too. Scott quickly welcomed the opportunity, and in jest, stated, “Let’s get a bigger bus!” Tales were told of a recent blown tire on their van in New Jersey, to which Louis expressed gratitude for being near a cheeseburger vendor; and of those massage chairs often found at malls, for which Scott announced, “Five dollars for fifteen minutes is the best value for money; I kept swiping my credit card.” With some phenomenal trumpet work during both “Cursed” and “I Want A Bird,” Phil Hamelin would not only be given props by his bandmates throughout the night, but Dave would also share a tale of how Phil went topless at their Boston show for a trumpet solo. “Look at him, I mean, he was coated in coconut oil and everything,” stated Dave. “Even after the show, two girls at the merch table asked if the topless guy was coming out.”
Long-time fans (and from a few people we chatted with prior to the show, references were made to the viral YouTube video for “Young And Able” as their first encounter with the band – a song which naturally made the set list on this evening) were also rewarded with some gems from albums past, including both “I Want A Bird” and the title track from their 2011 release “Long Time Ago.” Ending the show with “Honest Man” from this album, Current Swell would naturally return for an encore performance. With no representation from their 2014 “Ulysses” album during the show, the band would use the encore to feature a back-to-back rendition of “Flesh And Bone,” before wrapping up with Dave Lang’s amazing harmonica intro that signaled their popular and highly entertaining hit “Rollin’.”
For most of us that work the dreaded five-day week, Monday is often the toughest day to get through; yet an evening with Current Swell proved the perfect recipe for washing away the blues. The band performed flawlessly (even though Dave both dealt with a broken guitar string early, and misplaced his harmonica prior to the final number) and entertained non-stop for the duration of their set. Everybody in attendance were able to simply enjoy the moment, singing and dancing to favorite tunes, and experiencing the energetic show that Current Swell bring to each and every stop on their tour. A great night of music; this band have become pretty established in their homeland, and are now sharing their talents with audiences across North America and beyond. Don’t miss seeing them live if they happen to be stopping in a town near you.
- It Ain’t Right
- Woman In White
- I Want A Bird
- You Got It Easy
- For The Land
- Bring Me Down
- Long Time Ago
- Young And Able
- When To Talk And When To Listen
- Use Me Like You Do (Acoustic Version)
- Honest Man
- Flesh And Bone