Monday night, eager pop-punkers filled The Garage to catch Seaway on their Fresh Produce promotional tour.
No, the Canadian band didn’t hand out fruits and vegetables at the Burnsville grunge venue. Fresh Produce, their newest album, is far from apples to oranges.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the main room was that the merch table was set up on the side of the venue instead of in a separate area, which is more common.
This told me one of two things, either the show hadn’t sold out (which is fair for a Monday night), or they weren’t expecting concert-goers to get rowdy enough at a Seaway show for this new placement to be an issue.
Regardless, the venue was starting to fill up, the speakers were playing almost exclusively pop-punk covers of 90’s hits (score!), and I was feeling good.
A Pleasant Surprise
My aging bones (hey, those mid-twenties can really get to a person) were growing weary about attending a Monday night show with a five-band lineup, but arriving early to catch Minneapolis locals, Heart To Gold, was the bolstering force I needed.
I appreciated the relaxed banter the group had between songs, as it felt quite authentic. Paired with the gentle heckling from the band’s friends evident in the crowd, it made for a familiar setting.
Though at one point the band self-identified as sounding similar to Pinegrove, the intensity in their vocals was much more comparable to those of pop-punk staple The Story So Far.
This held my interest, since solid bands in this genre feel few and far between in this area. Heart To Gold left me excited to see more from a band based in my town.
If you’re looking for a local up-and-coming pop-punk band to support, you’ll want to keep up with Heart To Gold here.
(Young Culture is) Heaven
New York-based band Young Culture followed and only picked up the intensity.
Upon hitting the stage and allowing the screen to rise, they immediately began high-fiving those in the front row – a warm and enthusiastic way of welcoming fans.
Frontman Alex Magnan is an absolute light. It was great to see the way he moves and dances around while making full use of the stage.
I hadn’t heard of these guys until this show, but the best way to describe them would be if the overall aesthetic of Grayscale and the vocal tendencies of Sleep On It had a baby.
For those of you who aren’t entirely up to date with your obscure pop-punk bands (it’s okay, you’re forgiven), you can check out Young Culture’s top song “21 Days” off of their newest EP (This is) Heaven to get a feel for what I mean.
ILove Everything About You
To be transparent, coming into this show I didn’t know a single thing about Heart Attack Man aside from frontman Eric Egan racking up 100k on eBay for his orange beanie.
Truthfully, the hilarity in that story alone sparks enough interest to give the Ohio-based band some well-deserved attention. However, if blindly happening upon the group in a lineup is the way you fall into them, that is more than enough to keep you coming back for more.
If grunge is your thing, Heart Attack Man is your band.
A prime example of this is the irony in their song “Sugar Coated,” where the primary lyrics, “I hate everything about you” are repeated over and over again.
Heart Attack Man seemed to be the outlier in the lineup. Stylistically they made the least amount of sense in comparison, but musically they felt incredibly invigorating.
Free Throw has Got Your Back
Though they may have had the entire crowd rebelliously throwing up middle fingers during “Two Beers In,” in comparison to their preceding band, Free Throw was much more upbeat and refined.
The Nashville-based band must have a crazy following in the midwest, as they seemed to have the largest crowd of all the bands in the lineup.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed the earlier groups, it was incredibly refreshing to see more fans beginning to sing along and engage with Free
Throw’s set as the night continued.
A definite highlight was when frontman Cory Castro ended the set by dropping to his knees, falling on his back, and playing the remaining riffs from the ground in good old-fashioned rock n’ roll style.
Seaway is Something Wonderful
Seaway wasted no time when it came to playing tracks off of Fresh Produce. They opened the set with “Pleasures,” the first song off of the record.
What makes the new album unique is that, instead of spitting out fresh tracks, as the title suggests, the band instead mainly released altered versions of preexisting songs.
Though some were disappointed with this approach, I found it refreshing, as well as a great way of challenging standard songwriting tactics while playing with different methods of conveying a message more interestingly.
The first thing I noticed when Seaway took the stage was that frontman Ryan Locke had traded out his sunglasses (for the longest time he consistently wore them indoors on stage) for a standard pair of eyeglasses. No worries though, this move didn’t make the band any less cool – or as Seaway would say, “everything is cool, man“.
The crowd had seemed to thin out a bit by the time Seaway took the stage, which was fair for a Monday night. However, this gave those who waited patiently for the Canadian pop-punkers a chance to get even closer in a venue already so accommodating of that kind of intimate experience.
Drawing inspiration from bands like New Found Glory (though much more vocally sound – sorry, Jordan Pundik), Seaway has such incredible live energy.
I was pleased to hear many of my favorite songs from various albums throughout their set, including “London” and “Airhead.”
Of course, though it meant the end of a wonderful evening with the beloved band, no song came close to being as well-received as their closer “Something Wonderful.”
If you’re into pop-punk but haven’t given Seaway a listen yet, be sure to keep up to date with what they’re up to here. You won’t want to miss them the next time they come around!