Sea Wolf Captivates at Lincoln Hall
Walking into Lincoln Hall is a little intimidating. The restaurant/bar portion is always very noisy with lots of people. I got to the Sea Wolf show about fifteen minutes early, and the stage area was completely empty, which is equally as intimidating. Luckily, by the time the show actually started the place had filled up pretty well. But I was fortunate enough to be right up close near the stage. And the nice thing about shows like this is you don’t have to worry about being pushed or knocked down. You can actually listen to and enjoy the music.
At 9:00 pm on the dot, the giant screen that had been projecting upcoming shows at Lincoln Hall was rolled up and the lights dimmed. Normally I only half-care about the opening band; I know it is terrible to say, but rarely do I enjoy the opening band(s) before the person I really came there to see comes on. But the second these guys started playing, the mood changed in the room. Hey Marseilles are not your typical watch-because-you-have-to band, and that is why I feel it is warranted to spend so much time on them in this show review. Sea Wolf has an almost incomprehensible way of owning the stage, and that is not something that is easy to compete with, let alone preface, and I can think of no one better than Hey Marseilles for the job.
The seven piece band, from Seattle, almost took up the entire stage. The smoke machines were a little heavy, but the blue lighting set the mood perfectly. They, as a band, had so much passion exuding out of them it was difficult to not take notice. There was very little talking, mostly throwing around thank-yous in between songs. They also mentioned a new record, their second, coming out in February, which they played quite a few new songs off of. Hey Marseilles played for a solid forty-five minutes, and often times got a lot of crowd clapping participation, a lot of the audience even knew the words. Probably my favorite part about their set was the one guy in the background that was in-and-of-himself a horn section. Throughout different songs his instruments would go from saxophone to trumpet, to clarinet, and he even through in some percussion. If you have not heard of these guys, I highly recommend giving them a listen.
Finally, after what seemed like an hour and a half of Hey Marseilles putting their stuff away, the lights once again dimmed. The thing about only having one opening band is it almost makes the wait for the headliner unbearable. You are at all times so close to hearing Sea Wolf; yet at the same time it seems to make it seem farther away. But ultimately, Sea Wolf took the stage in all their glory. The floor was pretty crowded at this point, and the smoke machine begins to send a light haze over the crowd. After an appropriate amount of cheering, lead singer Alex Brown Church, says “hey, how’s it going” and then dives into ‘Miracle Cure,’ which has the perfect energy for an opening song. Sea Wolf kept that explosive energy throughout the entire show. Profusely thanking the crowd in between songs, and adjusting the tuning on his acoustic guitar, Alex Brown Church embodied the epitome of a gracious front man. It was obvious he loved what he was doing, and wanted the crowd to be aware of how much he truly appreciates the support.
After a well mixed set list of old and new songs, I was so happy they played ‘Priscilla,’ my favorite song off of their new record, Old World Romance. Then the drummer started an infectious drum beat that brought wicked clap participation from the crowd. It was exciting to see the crowd giving back some of the immense amount of energy Sea Wolf had been projecting. Alex again thanked the crowd, and began singing ‘Middle Distance Runner.’ After, he paused to do some adjusting and tuning to his guitar, and I took the opportunity to move upstairs and see what the show looked like from above.
It was just as invigorating upstairs as it had been on the floor, except there were chairs to sit in. Following the adjustments, Sea Wolf was up and running again with a vengeance. They sang ‘Turn Over the Dirt’ and ‘Wicked Blood,’ and Alex announced that he had lost his pedals a couple songs back. Pausing a few minutes to audibly tune, Alex demonstrated true musicianship. Listening to Sea Wolf play ‘Kasper’ was entrancing. The music faded out from the last lyrics, and only Alex’s voice could be heard hauntingly singing “is that a light, is that a light, coming through the gray and white?” Not surprisingly, they ended the show with ‘You’re a Wolf.’ Once again thanking the crowed multiple times, they precariously placed their instruments on the stage, and the lights stayed dimmed.
The crowed does the usual chanting of “one more song” and after only a couple minutes Sea Wolf came back on stage. They said thank you once more, and the crowd went totally silent, you could have heard a pin drop. To the delight of the crowd, they place not one, but three more songs, ‘Black Leaf Falls,’ ‘Saint Catherine St.,’ and ended on ‘Black Dirt.’
I was so impressed with the show that Sea Wolf put on. They are absolutely just as good, if not better, live. It was such a great experience and I could feel a real connection between the band and the crowd. Not every band is lucky enough to feel that, but the effects it can have on viewers and band alike are paramount. Next time Sea Wolf is in your town, do not miss it.
Miracle Cure, Winter Windows, The Traitor, Old Friend, In Nothing, Dew in the Grass, Priscilla, Middle Distance Runner, I Made a Resolution, Turn Over the Dirt, Wicked Blood, Kasper, You’re a Wolf
Black Leaf Falls, Saint Catherine St., Black Dirt