with Sara Lov
The sweet, low voice of a man in a flannel shirt, the rain against the window flows with the strum of guitar, and you, lucky you, are sitting in the warmth of a small soul-warming fire enjoying this all to yourself. Mmm, if only this could be the layout of a Sea Wolf show. Sub the fire for the stuffy heat of Club Sound and the rain for sweat as you stand anxiously for the show to start and eventually you get the man on a stage with three rows of highly perfumed trendy kids in between you. Good enough.
The “new and upcoming” artist brought on tour with Sea Wolf this year was Sara Lov, a sweet-voiced woman of love and simplicity. With her, Lov brought a record player instead of a back up musicians, leaving her singing and occasionally playing guitar with the backing tracks from her recent release Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming spinning next to her on vinyl. Though I found the use of vinyl clever for making touring easier, it made for an uninteresting live performance. I could easily enjoy the same quality sitting at home in a comfy chair instead of next to strange girl combing through her boy toy’s hair. Loud conversations among the crowd showed I wasn’t the only one bored. After Lov, non-sarcastically, awarded us “Best Crowd of The Tour” I almost felt bad for her, thinking of the shitty crowds she must have had at previous dates. Then she decided to close with a simple cover of Arcade Fire’s “My Body Is A Cage,” a great song I hope to never see covered again.
The wait in between bands wasn’t bad. Piece by piece, Sea Wolf filled the stage. A bit of tuning got everyone into a girlish sense excitement and anticipation (I’m pretty sure the guy next to me squealed a little). The crowd at this point turned on their best behavior and their reaction to the took them by storm. With much-deserved cheering, the set began with “Wicked Blood” off of their new release White Water, White Bloom followed by “Black Leaves Fall” from their last album Leaves in the River. Even better than the brilliant line up of songs were the smiling faces of each band member as the crowd cheered after each song. They didn’t even play out the encore waiting game. Lead singer and man of flannel Alex Brown Church flipped around to say we hurt his ears before playing an intimate solo of “Orion & Dog.” Then the full band returned for a brilliant performance of one of my favorite songs, “You’re a Wolf,” followed by another explosion of cheers.
Sea Wolf is brilliant. Each year is better than the last (though every year has been amazing). This year left my cheeks hurting from smiling, and my mind refreshed. If you missed the show, make sure to have a listening party for their new album White Water, White Bloom. You won’t be disappointed.