Live Review: Seaway, WSTR, The Gospel Youth and Miami Monroe – Stereo, Glasgow – 27/01/2017

It comes as something of a surprise that this is Seaway’s first run of headline shows in the UK, as its three years since their wholesome pop-punk first made its way to these shores from Oakville, Ontario. Aided by a solid bill completed by The Gospel Youth and WSTR, the Canadians continue to tour in support of 2015 album ‘Colour Blind’, while aiming to cement their presence on the worldwide circuit.

Given the honour of kicking things off on this characteristically cold and wet Friday night in Glasgow are locals Miami Monroe. The five-piece showcase solid pop-punk songs, the tightness of their performance making up for a lack of stage presence. Daly promotes the band’s EP ‘Knots & Crosses’ by describing it as merely ‘alright’, but such modesty won’t be required if they can find the right exposure for its well-crafted tracks. (3/5)

It is often live performance that separates the men from the boys, and The Gospel Youth are intense from the off. While their music bears no resemblance to gospel, there is more than a little soul in the delivery of gems such as ‘The Hospital Blues You Gave To Me’, which finds singer Sam Little on fine, heartfelt form. Little is an energetic and talented vocalist – think a hyperactive, heavily tattooed Patrick Stump – and commands the cramped stage. The one act here that are more alt-pop-rock than pop-punk, there are noticeable nods of approval and firm applause from the more mature punters at the back. The Gospel Youth look and sound like a band that will be seen and heard a lot more, very soon. (4/5)

WSTR spent no time in hitting the road again following the release of debut album ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ only a week prior to this show, but you wouldn’t know it. The album’s opener ‘Featherweight’ is shouted back as if it was released years ago, and a similar reaction meets ‘Punchline’, the last track on the record – further evidence of the Liverpool band’s sudden ubiquity on newsfeeds and pop-punk playlists. Sammy Clifford’s tendency to miss out entire lines from songs doesn’t matter on rapid-fire favourites ‘Graveyard Shift’ and ‘South Drive’, to which the still sparse crowd manage to throw several crowd-surfers over an alarmingly non-existent barrier. (3/5)

Seaway are less intense than The Gospel Youth and less ragged than WSTR from the outset, settling in with a tight, bouncy ‘Best Mistake’. A smart-looking Ryan Locke wastes no time in thanking the support acts, who could be seen furtively watching and enjoying from the edge of the crowd throughout.

While ‘Freak’ and ‘Trick (So Sweet)’ recreate the superb variety of pace that ‘Colour Blind’ possesses, ‘Your Best Friend’ from 2014 EP ‘All In My Head’ surprisingly receives an even more raucous reaction. The lack of a barrier or security results in a head injury for a young crowd member at the end of the song, and Locke ensures he is helped out before continuing.

The second half of the set is oddly sluggish, feeling as if ‘Stubborn Love’ and ‘Alberta’ are somewhat misplaced, if solidly performed. ‘Airhead’, however, is a slow number of the stirring, life-affirming kind, and one of Seaway’s finest songs to date. Its the most potent moment of the night, and there isn’t a fist in the room not held aloft.

Although ‘Slam’’s mantra-like “everything is cool man!” has an appropriate air of finality, we aren’t done yet. The crowd chant for ‘Sabrina The Teenage Bitch’ and the band duly pick their instruments back up. Locke thanks Stereo for the best show of the tour yet, and beckons for help with the impromptu ‘Sabrina The Teenage Bitch’, which is emphatically provided. Seaway’s warmth and endearing positivity that comes across on record is very much present in a slick live show, one which deserves to grow into the bigger stage. (4/5)


Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)

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