By Nick LeMay; photo by Perry Julien (julienphotography.com)
Sealions opened for Metric Thursday, October 28 in an electronic spectacle that drew an understandably large and wonderfully dressed crowd.
I’ve been to the Tabernacle more times than I can remember and I still found myself gazing at the ornate wonder of it’s ridiculous architecture. It seems as though I should be dressed for some sort of royal opera, but I don’t think I own that wardrobe and neither does anyone else here. So I join a gaggle of hipsters while they quickly fit in a few final drags of their cigarettes before entering.
There was a slightly larger crowd than expected and I’m sure the opening band, Sealions will see the difference. My guess is that they haven’t coaxed a crowd this large… ever. I was anxious to see how they would handle it.
As I positioned a some form of a whiskey drink in my hand, the members of Sealions walked on stage with a comfortable demeanor. The crowd silenced slightly, except for a peculiar couple that was arguing very loudly. I could only wonder to myself, “How the fuck is this the sort of place for an argument?”
It turns out that Sealions handled it all very well.
The last time I even heard a note of their music in a live setting was about a year ago and since then they’ve added a bassist. As they rolled through each song, the arrangements and musicianship in general showed themselves altogether more solid; they were on top of every note, at least at this show. I felt proud. Sealions was the 12-year-old growing a few pubic hairs. They were the tadpoles that didn’t die. They were the relationship that made it past six months without bickering in ridiculous settings. And I wanted to share a first beer with them.
Their smooth electro-pop has something with deeper substance now. It was a refreshing escape from what I had experienced a month before in the obnoxious electronic 1980′s throwback bullshit that spread all over Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their sound is just original enough to be different and just catchy enough to be appreciated by most, but they still have to get through puberty.
They started off with “Bellwether” and finished off with “Indian Summer,” which is my personal favorite and an obvious crowd favorite. The songs sounded similar to the recordings at the Tabernacle and Jason Travis’ presence was clearly more collected and confident then it had been before.
I waited for Metric to come on at the bar and there was a usual roar from the audience as they came on. After the first song I became fairly annoyed with the music in general. Not because the music is bad, but because I was beginning to get a terrible headache. I lost the will to stand near about two drinks and 24 dollars ago. They caught my attention, but I started to feel literally sick. I felt a fever washing over me and unfortunately, I had to leave. As I walked towards the back listening to the electronic beats fade, I noticed that arguing couple near the bar. The previously unsatisfied duo had apparently made amends and they were battling with their tongues this time, but I could be wrong. I’m not an expert on fight-then-fuck mating rituals yet. I also realized something equally peculiar, but wonderful: people may have not gone to listen to Sealions, but they legitimately enjoyed it and surprisingly, so did I. I was hoping they noticed that.
I woke up the next day and was actually ill with a cold, but I went to Estoria anyway to stew on the night. I needed to figure out what to write over a beer or five beers. I asked my friend Mike, a cook at Estoria, if he knew of anyone that went to the show last night and he pointed to Joey Patino, Sealions’s guitarist/keyboardist, “I’m pretty sure he went.” So I delightfully and giddily grasped the opportunity to ask Joey a few questions about the show. The conversation was sparse and short, though. Partly because Joey was serving tables and mostly because I was steadily morphing into an alcohol fueled shipwreck. He told me that the most interesting thing to him about the show was that “no one was talking between each song … I was watching the other bands and I noticed some of the chatter in the middle of songs and a light sort of went on in my head; people were actually listening to us.” Joey informed me that Sealions plan to go on an East Coast tour in the first quarter of next year, which will be the largest tour they’ve been on. They’ll be moving out of mom’s house finally, but that’s all part of growing up. Either way, people seem to like what they’re doing.