Sunday, April 24, 2022

I See Hawks In L.A. at CSUN Art Gallery, 4-23-22 Concert Review

It’s been a strange time, no question about that, and like a lot of folks, I’ve relied on music to help keep my spirits up, to help keep me from judging humanity too harshly. There is certain music that just feels right for the soul, you know? One of my favorite bands, one that provides just that kind of music, and one that I missed during this pandemic, is I See Hawks In L.A., made up of Rob Waller on vocals and guitar, Paul Lacques on guitar and vocals, Paul Marshall on bass and vocals, and Victoria Jacobs on drums and vocals. Yesterday the band did an outdoor show at California State University, Northridge as part of that school’s Golden Hour, an exhibition which also featured some excellent photography. Their set was exactly what I needed.

The fun began during the soundcheck, when Paul Marshall played a bit of the Skeeter Davis song “The End Of The World.” He then led the group into some of “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome.” And then when everything was right, they played “A Dog Can Break Your Heart,” saying it was for a woman in the audience who had brought her dog to the show. This song features such beautiful harmonies, something this band is known for. It’s from the band’s first album, released more than twenty years ago. Afterward, they said that was the soundcheck, but at that point the show had basically begun, even though it was not yet the official start time of 4:30 p.m. They joked around for another minute or two, and then launched into “On Our Way,” the title track from the band’s most recent album, which came out last year. Afterward, Paul Marshall thanked 88.5 FM for playing that song. They followed “On Our Way” with “Singing In The Wind,” a song from the group’s 2018 release Live And Never Learn. This song featured more great harmonies, and Paul Lacques delivered some excellent work on electric guitar. They then returned to On Our Way for “Geronimo.”

Most of the songs they chose to play at yesterday’s show came from either On Our Way or Live And Never Learn, including the always-fun “Poour Me.” “If you can’t find the door, better pour a little more.” That song and the next two they played came from Live And Never Learn. In introducing “White Cross,” Paul Lacques said, “This is for the line dancers out there.” And then Victoria Jacobs took lead vocal duties on “My Parka Saved Me,” one of my personal favorites from that album. I especially love the moment when the others are singing “My parka,” and Victoria corrects them, “It was my brother’s parka,” and they immediately sing the corrected line. It’s an unusual and wonderful song. That was followed by “Mississippi Gas Station Blues,” from On Our Way, another unusual tune, a heavier song with its peculiar power.

Paul Marshall then sang lead on a new song, “Salvation,” which for me was another highlight of the set. After the show, he told me he hopes it will be on the next album. I’m excited that a new album is in the works. Somehow these guys are constantly creating excellent new material. In fact, after “Salvation,” Paul Lacques said: “We’re doing two brand new songs in a row. Can you feel our fear?” The second new tune was “Ohio,” with Rob Waller back on lead vocals. This song is a seriously fun country number, and it had me smiling like a demented fool on ecstasy the whole way through. If these two songs are representative of the band’s next release, well, that is going to be one hell of a good album.

The final of the On Our Way tracks to be played at yesterday’s show was “If I Move,” which was introduced as kind of a Los Angeles breakup song. Rob Waller then mentioned Earth Day, which had been the day before, and how he hoped it would become a national holiday. The band has a lot of songs with subjects and themes appropriate for Earth Day, and from those they chose to play “Hope Against Hope,” a song from the band’s Grapevine album. “I know we’ll never see/The trees that used to be.” They then wrapped up the set with an energetic and fantastic rendition of “Humboldt,” also from Grapevine, jamming on it a bit at the beginning. The show ended at 5:31 p.m. There was no encore, but after “Humboldt,” one wasn’t really needed. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, a good recharging for the soul.

Set List

  1. A Dog Can Break Your Heart Too
  2. On Our Way
  3. Singing In The Wind
  4. Geronimo
  5. Poour Me
  6. White Cross
  7. My Parka Saved Me
  8. Mississippi Gas Station Blues
  9. Salvation
  10. Ohio
  11. If I Move
  12. Hope Against Hope
  13. Humboldt

Here are some photos from the show:

"On Our Way"
"On Our Way"

"On Our Way"







"White Cross"


  1. Thank you for the wonderfully detailed review, Michael. It was great to see you!!