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 Hwang
drummer John Chong talking to the audience
John Chong and bassist Joe Chun in the encore Growing Up.