By Nathan Pavolko
This past Wednesday, Seratones opened for Thao & The Get Down Stay Down at the Crescent Ballroom. It blows my mind and overjoys me to see so many people at Crescent on a random weekday for a show. From my history of music venues, I’ve never seen so much dedication and interest for new bands passing through, as well as bands you want to see on those hard to catch weekday shows. The place was packed, and when Seratones hit the stage everyone was already a few drinks in and feeling ready.
The crowd seemed as if they didn’t know what to expect from the band, as a few people were standing back with all ears open, listening intently; while others, myself included, were jumping around and dancing about to their roaring opener “Choking On Your Spit.” They played this track with such a thunderous and commanding presence, winning over the crowd’s inhibitions. Plenty more started dancing or bobbing their heads, making the band feel much welcomed.
The set list seemed to be a shuffled order of the new album Get Gone, taking out a few tracks here and there. Each song was full of high energy, even the slower, more grooving tracks like “Get Gone:” not necessarily with speed but with noticeable aggression or attitude, which had a huge impact on the crowd. “Get Gone” had a sharp attack to it, possessing tightness between all the instruments which elevated A.J Haynes’ intimate vocals. I distinctly remember a moment during this song where I look over as I am taking photos of the band and this girl was absolutely getting down. She was really digging the low end grooves of this southern bender.
One thing I noticed while I was taking pictures and watching the band perform was that they all genuinely had fun on stage. During the wild and free improvisation on “Kingdom Come,” Connor Davis played some gnarly guitar solos, while Haynes continued to smile when she sang and plays guitar. For these reasons, I am glad that their debut album was recorded all in live takes. However, many of the song’s subtleties that I had loved hearing on the record were less apparent due to their high energy. The guitars on a few tracks sounded a little too big and sometimes clouded great moments of Haynes’ voice; like during the break in “Chandelier,” when Haynes shows off her beautiful swooping vocal melody. It’s hard to say that these things are bad because it also helped with their boisterous sound, but it did weaken wonderful parts within certain songs.
“Trees,” the last song of the set, was performed with overwhelming excitement as the band hammered out the track with relentless force. Before the song began, Haynes put down her guitar and took center stage, letting loose her vocal strength and adding some sass to her gestures. As the song comes to its peak, Haynes dropped into the crowd, danced with many of them, and even gave me a high-five before getting back on stage. This band clearly knows how to work a crowd and keep them invigorated.
After Seratones’ set, I had met a few of the band members and had them sign a copy of their limited 7” single they had for sale at their merch table. I even had the pleasure of having a long chat with the bass player Adam Davis about Rickenbacker basses and recording their debut LP. They all were very humble down-to-earth people and I truly enjoyed meeting them. All in all, Seratones put on an amazing show event with a few minor flaws. This band is easily becoming one of my new favorites and I would love to see them in Phoenix again. If you’re a fan of garage rock, soul, or southern twang then go see Seratones live or get their debut LP, Get Gone on May 6th.