Sea Wolf Larimer Lounge January 15, 2008
Better than: Watching girls dancing with hula hoops
Last May, Sea Wolf played to a handful of people at the Larimer Lounge. The band played a fine set, and after the gig I picked up the band’s Get To The River Before It Runs Too Low EP. I listened to it in the car and instantly recognized “You’re a Wolf” from the show, and the song quickly carved out a permanent place between my ears.
Gaining considerable momentum over the last eight months with the September release of the full-length Leaves In The River, Sea Wolf packed a few hundred folks in at the Larimer Lounge last night.
Sea Wolf frontman Alex Church opened the set with some acoustic strumming on the wonderfully melancholic “Leaves in the River,” which felt like the opening credits, if the concert were a film. After all, Church studied film, and uses a few screenwriting techniques to craft his tunes. On the album, nearly every one of the songs is like a short film. But last night each song became part of a bigger picture, with the individual tracks feeling more like scenes in a film. Yeah, I know this analogy might sound like a bit of a stretch, but work with me people.
So after the warming up the crowd with “Leaves,” the rest of the band chimed in on “Winter Windows,” with drummer Byron Reynolds propelling the tune with alternating tom and snare beats. They kept the momentum going with “The Cold, The Dark and the Silence.” Those two songs packed so much more energy than on the record, and these three guys and two gals turned the subdued material into full-on rock. After the mid-tempo “Middle Distance Runner” they got back on the horse for a booming version of “I Made a Resolution,” (from the band’s debut EP) where Church sang, “I’m never gonna sing a sad song again.”
While Church has written his share of sad songs, somehow hearing them last night, they in no way sounded sad. It may have been a bit melancholy in spots, but the band’s set was purely uplifting.
Church also has a knack for writing simple, memorable lyrics, and somehow I still remembered a lot of the words last night, even after not having listened to the album in awhile. And it was kind of cool to see a group of girls, who were standing right next to the stage, mouthing the lyrics. Near the end of the set, one gal who seemed to know every word was so fixated on Church, that to her, it looked like he’d taken on Elvis-like proportions. It was just one of those rock star moments that I haven’t seen in a long time.
–- Jon Solomon
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: Last night’s show was a hundred times more energetic than the last time they played Larimer Lounge. Random Detail: After the show, the lovely Sea Wolf keyboardist Lisa Fendelander was sporting a bag with a Minor Threat patch. Turns out she also digs Fugazi. By the Way: Also after the show, two girls did a captivating dance with hula-hoops routine while Morphine played on the sound system. I was fascinated and confused.