Halfway through January came my first gig of 2018, and one which had a pretty stellar line-up when looking at the tour poster. It was, then, with some excitement that I braved the arctic conditions to head to The Garage, one of my favourite venues London has to offer.
Lizzy Farrall was mid-way through her set when I arrived. Having briefly checked out her stuff a handful of times before the gig itself, I knew what to expect. There’s absolutely no doubt that Lizzy has one of the best live voices I’ve heard for quite some time; she also has an exceptionally captivating stage presence, which is only boosted by the atmospheric nature of her songs and the mournful, haunting sounds the twin guitars made across her tracks. A good start to the gig.
The next band I was very excited to see: Scotland’s finest in Woes. Their self-titled EP was one of my favourite releases of 2016, and this was the first chance I’d had to see any of that played live. While tracks such as Be Alone, Winter Sun and Worst Friend were played by the band, there was just something not quite right with their set. Whether that was end-of-tour burnout, or the undoubtedly poor sound quality their set was plagued by, I’m not quite sure. There is undoubtedly a huge amount of quality in what Woes do, their songwriting and their ability; but on this night it was a bit of a bad day at the office for them. I have certainly not written them off, though: they are very much still a rough diamond and a young band in the scheme of things.
Seaway’s set was as triumphant as you might expect it to be. As often appears to be the case for the headlining act, the sound quality issues which had played a big role in Woes’ set magically disappeared, with the Ontario five-piece sounding super crisp and sharp. Opening with Best Mistake, they positively strode on-stage, frontman Ryan in sunglasses and letting out a roar of “we’re here for one night only”, they dropped into the first chords. Ryan himself was on top form, and looking absolutely delighted when setting eyes on the first of a good number of crowd-surfers the night produced.
Something Wonderful came next, and was as wonderful as you might expect; London, though, was the set highlight for me. Being in the city the song is about clearly adds a certain level of raucousness to the singalongs: but this was a note-perfect rendition of a near-perfect song anyway: but with the added bonus of the shedloads of energy and downright fun Seaway bring to a live set. They’re such an addictive band to watch that it’s really very tough to not smile along.
Their set pulled together an excellent mix of old and new tracks, with Apartment and Curse Me Out both fitting into the latter category being from 2017 record Vacation. It was good to see the crowd greeting these newer songs with equal enthusiasm to the older tracks, something not always the case. There’s also absolutely no doubt that Lula On The Beach sounded at least ten times better on stage compared to listening to it on record.
With them flying out to the States first thing in the morning and playing a show in LA the next evening, they didn’t mess about with any walk-off / walk-on. Everything Is Cool, Man was rip-roaringly energetic; and I left the venue into the driving rain with a massive smile on my face. Cheers, Seaway, for making this grey January a sunny one after all.