When does a band graduate from the “local” status? Is when they reach a significant amount of interregional/international success? If so, Seaway has passed that threshold not too long ago. Still, there was something about the sold out Sneaky Dee’s crowd, as if every person in attendance was supportive of the Toronto scene. It was great to see a crowd be familiar with every band playing. With the opening bands Rarity, Coldfront, and Incendies all being from the Toronto-Hamilton area, it certainly felt like a local show, but on steroids.
Unfortunately, due to Friday evening downtown traffic, I got to the venue right around the time Incendies were rounding up their twenty-minute set. Although I was upset for missing the Toronto five-piece’s performance, I was impressed with the little I heard. The dynamic between clean leads and screamed backup vocals made for a nice contrast that complimented Incendies’ energetic musical style.
Up next was Rarity. Of course, no modern pop-punk show is complete without an opening band with hardcore influences. Similar to the first band that night, Rarity had a nice contrast between clean leads and emotional, heavy screams provided by their guitarist. The bassist was thrashing around behind the frontline of the stage, and the crowd was certainly reciprocating that energy. They erupted from the first note of Rarity’s set, which was such a surprise to see considering how early in the evening it was. Lots of moshing, crowd-surfing, and chanting was happening to the point where the floorboards were moving beneath me. It was all very impressive considering there was still two bands left on the bill, and pretty much assured me that the scene is still alive and well. Surely, it couldn’t get crazier than this.
Surprisingly enough, it didn’t for Coldfront’s set. The crowd felt totally different. Personally, I enjoyed them more than the previous band. They were tight, and the vocals were impressive. Their lead singer had a style similar to The Story So Far’s Parker Cannon in both his voice and stage presence. The difference being that, unlike Cannon, this guy actually tried to hit his high notes and held them. The crowd barely moved except for the two or three times they were asked to by the band, although that may have to do with the band’s energy. Although not all of their tracks were as in-your-face as Rarity’s, they did have some more slowed down, grooving moments to their sound that certainly made for a more enjoyable dynamic.
Next up was Seaway, a band that’s been high on my must-see list since I discovered their newest album Colour Blind earlier this year (it’s one of the best pop-punk albums of the decade, go check it out). Before these guys even played the first note, the crowd lunged forward faster than I thought possible, and as soon as they struck the opening chords to their song “Airhead,” everyone was off their feet. Despite my genuine concerns that roughly a hundred people simultaneously jumping would cave the floor into the venue’s ground level, it was an amazingly enjoyable time. Out of all four bands that night, Seaway’s dual-vocalist format was done the best. Rather than both vocalists doing what they’re good at during specific times of a song, they worked together to form some incredible harmonies that were spot on for the most part. They added a great deal of energy to the band’s upbeat, hook-heavy music. The young band played for about an hour. From the audience, who never stopped singing along, jumping, and dancing, to the band members themselves, who brought a sense of community to the night, everyone’s energy that night showed no signs of slowing down.
I highly recommend a Seaway show for anyone who’s a fan of active crowds. This was easily the most fun, non-festival audience I’ve been a part of in a long time, and even if you’re not a fan of the music, the atmosphere will make up for it. Though, I’m still debating whether or not the sold out Sneaky Dee’s show was considered a “local” show or not. The scene proved to me that it’s still active, and is home to some great talent.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
Photography by Danielle Kenedy
*edited by Danielle Kenedy