Last Wednesday evening, 11th street in San Francisco seemed like a typical weekday night: quiet and empty, until you hit the 300 block outside of Slim’s bar and club where three loud, excitable lines formed around the door in different directions. Hundreds of fans waited for the entrance, at will call pick-up, and the general box office, where some made last-minute attempts to purchase tickets before the night’s show. Some of the buyers waited to no avail, as the co-headliners Touche Amore and mewithoutyou featured direct support from rising favorites Seahaven, and Drug Church. The suitable lineup had quickly and inevitably sold out.
Drug Church took the stage on the minute at 7:30, getting the crowd moving with their aggressive post-hardcore sound, despite vocalist Patrick’s admitted head cold (or dangerous case of typhoid fever. He wasn’t sure which it was, but didn’t want to scare anyone as he borrowed a tissue from someone in the crowd.)
After Drug Church’s set, Slim’s signature, psychedelic screen was lowered in front of the stage. Projections of distorted, colorful scenes of old films were paired with obscure hip-hop house music as Seahaven prepared for their set. They deserved props for their DIY ethic: most bands with Seahaven’s status bring a crew along to do the heavy lifting in lieu of a “grand entrance.” But these guys spared the crowd any unnecessary formalities and started into their first song. It was a smooth transition between ending the soundcheck and starting the set. (The first song is always a soundcheck for soundboard tech, anyway.)
Seahaven belted out a lot of new material early on in the set, and the crowd was surprisingly receptive. While the majority of the room was clearly there just waiting for mewithoutyou and Touche Amore, a small but dedicated group of singing fans kept the floor alive. Seahaven’s set included new material such as “Sleep Alone” and “Silhouette (Latin Skin)” from their latest 7” single released last month via Run For Cover Records. The crowd remained undeterred by all the new material even during their performance of “Flesh,” released on Soundcloud just a week before the show. With all this new material in the set, it was easy to tell that the band was excited about their upcoming album Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only out March 25 also under Run For Cover. It was hard to imagine why they wouldn’t be. The B-Side fell in love with the production and tone of “Flesh” the first time it was heard, and their live version gave the song an unexpected energy. All this new live material really left us with only one conclusion: this new album is going to be something else.
Along with the new tunes, Seahaven provided some oldies off their first full-length, Ghost (2010), released under Creator-Destructor Records. Songs such as “Plague” and “Head In The Sand (Blinding Son)” were included in the set, as well as some of my personal favorites off their latest release Winter Forever. Seahaven is a very eclectic group; while they are a self-proclaimed blues act (which perfectly fits singer Kyle Soto’s unique bluesy/angsty style) this band also brings a post-punk sound to the table. Their two live renditions of “Black & White” and “It’s Over” off Winter Forever were just as expected; raw, loud, and angry.
While most of the songs in the set were calm and melodic, these two stuck out the most. They keep the calm mood present for the verses, but they tore into the two songs’ choruses. Their style here really set them apart. Stomping onto their distortion pedals and driving up their collective vocal volume, the band really proved they had what it takes to roll with a hardcore band like Touche Amore.
Overall, Seahaven’s set at Slim’s set left me wanting more. It would be great to see what these guys can do out on their own headlining tour, and hopefully one will be in the works soon with the release of their new album next month.
Keep your eyes peeled for Seahaven in the near future. We have a feeling they’re going to be very busy once this album drops.
Article and photos by Atreyue Ryken