Show Review

Seaway @ Agora Theater 9/13

You ever just walk into a room and the heat hits you like only a high school locker room can? The stink seeps into your pores, even when you're a full arm's distance away from people? That was the scene at the Agora for the "Rise or Die Trying: Part Two" tour featuring Four Year Strong, Seaway, and like three other bands that kill time before the last two close out the night. The tour had a total of five bands y'all! That's too many bands for a single show. At that point Four Year Strong are just cultivating their own pop punk economy in order to feed angsty grown ass men.

But, I digress-when I walked into the Agora, I was a bit surprised that the show was in the smaller theater as opposed to the more orchestral ballroom. Then I saw the crowd size and realized it filled the theater nicely, but the modest crowd would have been dwarfed by the mammoth ballroom. The last time I caught Four Year Strong in Cleveland, they were playing the Grog Shop, so the theater seemed like a natural transition. The disappointing part of the venue is that I've seen the ballroom sell out for less interesting bands, even less interesting line ups. I mean, Everclear packed that room and they're...Everclear.

Gym shorts and sweatbands aside, the close quarters of the Agora Theater really helped harness the energy that lends itself, not only to Four Year Strong, but to their direct support, Seaway. Last month, I spoke with Seaway's lead singer, Ryan Locke, about the band's upcoming album release, so I was excited to see what the band delivered on stage. The band's new album, Vacation, dropped on September 15, but I've had it on my regular rotation for the last month.

Seaway is very much what they advertise themselves to be: CANADIAN POP PUNK (caps necessary). Just take a moment to envision that for yourself. You may pull images from the lineage of fun pop punk bands that came before Seaway, you may break down each word to it's most easily and accessible association: Canadian=Syrup, Pop=Dancy, Punk=Fast. Sweet, dancy, fast. That's Seaway to me, but feel free to make your own mad lib.
‚ÄčThe Ontario boys came to the stage with a lot of energy and didn't lose momentum for their entire set. When I interviewed Ryan Locke, the vocalist hoped for an involved set with a lot of crowd participation. Cleveland definitely made that wish come true. I lost track of how many crowd surfers Locke pulled onto the stage or how many people subsequently jumped back into the pit. 

Seaway played a few songs off of their 2015 album, Colour Blind, but the real gems were all from Vacation. "Something Wonderful," "Apartment," and "Lula on the Beach" are all my top songs from the new album (but I'm still waiting to hear "Scatter My Ashes Along the Coast or Don't") so I was bound to have a good time.

The facet that really made Seaway's set memorable for me was seeing how pumped the members of the band were. They just seemed legitimately happy to be there, talk to the crowd, play their songs, and have a good time. That's easy to say, because they had a good crowd response, but honestly Seaway's music is super fun. If the crowd didn't start jumping, flying, and singing during Seaway's set, I would have thrown my hat off in disgust and stormed out of the Agora like they stopped selling PBR tallboys. Luckily, it didn't come to that and I wasn't even wearing a hat.

I don't really go out of my way to go to pop punk shows anymore. The songs all sound the same, the band members usually have simplistic ideas of women and relationships, and all the fans smell like Doritos and Call of Duty. But, Seaway made that gauntlet of dude bros worth it. Vacation is a solid album that I would rate, on a scale from 1 to 10: Accidentally dancing in my underwear in my bathroom at 8:30 in the morning. It's spunky. It's cute. It's Canadian. 

Aside from being catchy, you should just give Seaway your money because they're nice Canadian boys making music that references Saved by the Bell. You know you want to listen.