Run River North

I saw Run River North on April 6th at the Horseshoe Tavern.  This LA based band was touring to support their second album Drinking From a Salt Pond.  Aside from a couple of songs, I wasn’t that familiar with their new album.  The band wrote in medium  about the anger and frustrations they felt after their first tour.  In the midst of confronting these feelings with each other and trying to work through them, they managed to write a lot of the songs for their second album.

It’s a harder sound, less folksy than their first album.  Songs like River and Growing Up that were so sunny and touching are contrasted with this lyric from Anthony

“I’ll be leaving with the coffin open
Tell your mother she could sleep inside”

They came on stage to the music of Jurassic Park (I think…) and played a lot of their new material.    The acoustic guitar that lead singer Alex Hwang played so much in their first tour only show only showed up a couple of times.  The other band members such as drummer John Chong and bassist Joe Chun took turns at the mic with some audience banter.  I don’t remember this when they played here last year.

Despite a grueling tour schedule, they were energetic and had fun.  The sweet harmonies are still there.  But they’ve got some new muscles and are flexing it.  Run or Hide bristled with energy.  Other numbers that I liked from their new album are 29 and Salt Pond.  Note – Salt Pond is available only on vinyl.  Some of the older songs from their first album such as Monsters Calling Home still resonated a lot with the crowd.  They closed the show with Growing Up.  Here’s a video of that number.

Video Credit:  Bosco Tung

The show was opened by The Lighthouse and the Whaler from Cleveland who are also toured with them in 2013.  They recorded a new album Mont Royal (in Montreal).  I picked up their new CD as well.  Their music has this summery feel.  From what I can tell, the audience enjoyed them too.  You can catch them performing here for  KEXP on YouTube.

Lead singer Alex HwangIMG_0876_2

drummer John Chong talking to the audience


John Chong and bassist Joe Chun in the encore Growing Up.



12 thoughts on “Run River North

  1. How cool, Matt! I’m glad you got to hear them live!
    Handsome young men! They have a beautiful sound!
    Thank you for sharing them! I love discovering new bands/singers I’ve not heard before!
    HUGS and Happy Whee-kend!!! 🙂

    • I read about them a few years ago on someone’s blog and saw them a couple of years ago when they came into town. They’re now full time musicians and I hope they will succeed financially. It’s a very tough life.

  2. Yeah Matt, how cool is that. I think when you live in a large Metropolitan city like Toronto, you are exposed to such a lot of events like this. I envy you. I am happy that you enjoyed it and were able to purchase the CD.

  3. Sounds really cool – I’ll check them out again some time. You really do like to follow them and thanks for sharing. I like these new beginnings or small band feelings. It reminds me of when I was younger and listened to unknown-to-many bands.

  4. when i get to visit toronto we can hang out somewhere with a live band like this. if not this same band, maybe another. seems such a relaxing way to pass time. glad to know you get to get out and chill for a bit. i assume J enjoys it too?

    • Yeah, that will be great if we could just hang out. That tea place on your Instagram looks like the perfect place to chill.

      This band is based in LA. They are going to Japan and Korea to play in a festival. You can buy their music in Amazon or iTunes.

      J was ok with them but didn’t like the opening act. We both have very different tastes in music.

      • i don’t actually listen to music much. i simply listen to music on the radio. i stop buying cds. i don’t even download anything. if i have to buy more cds, i’d go for instrumental stuff or soft jazz stuff. well, maybe broadway tunes too 🙂

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