Seawolf – Philadelphia – North Star Bar, PA – 2007-11-03

Where: Philadelphia – North Star Bar, PA.

When: 2007-11-03

California’s Seawolf has been gaining a considerable amount of industry traction lately. The ridiculously catchy single, ”You’re a Wolf”, as well as an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, has succeeded in creating a generous buzz around this indie folk outfit. While touring in support of the Leaves in the River LP, released earlier this year by Dangerbird Records, Seawolf swung through Philly’s North Star and lured a sizeable crowd out to come watch.

Seawolf, however, is not really a band in the general sense. The name Seawolf is really just a literary reference adopted as a pseudonym by Los Angels-based singer/songwriter Alex Brown Church. As the chief songwriter and the only constant and permanent member of the group, Church is Seawolf. But since he can’t do it all by himself on stage, a little outsourcing is called for in order for his music to translate live.

Opening for Seawolf were Hong Kong Stingray and Mark Malcahy. Both performances were luke warm at best and neither generated much enthusiasm from the jaded seeming hipsters that made up the majority of the crowd. All in attendance were clearly there for Seawolf and had little patience for anything else.

It was after ten o’clock by the time a flannel clad Church and company took the stage. The band was definitely polished and played well. Although the performance, as a whole, was a bit unspirited. Seawolf just seemed to be going through the motions with an air of stilted repetition. Not to say it wasn’t good.

The set featured some really good songs, including the exceptionally good, maybe even great, “Middle Distance Runner”, which is broodingly wistful, instantly likable, and extremely Donavan-esque. Most songs feature a cello, which generates a nice organic groan and lends a rustic backbone to the music.

Seawolf ended the show with”You’re a Wolf”, but the up-tempo pace in which it was performed completely eroded the subdued easy feel that makes the album version so damn good. It was not the most captivating live show, but Church definitely has talent as a songwriter and his popularity will surely increase.