Attendees of the Sea Wolf show at Jackrabbits on January 16 received a special, intimate show that featured a solo performance by Alex Brown Church, the band’s lead singer and founder. Accompanying Church in this personal performance was Colin Adkins of Jacksonville-based indie rock group Civil Brute. When I first found out Sea Wolf would be coming to Jacksonville I was elated, but unsure of how this “solo” performance would play out. Little did I know that the concert would be so damn good.
Myself and a friend arrived at the venue well before the first act, Colin Adkins, took the stage. We grabbed a beer and seated ourselves towards the back of the venue, eagerly waiting to hear the artist we had listened to for so many years. As Adkins took the stage, I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pictures. Glancing around the venue, I instantly picked up on how immersed the crowd seemed to be. Everyone was quiet and focused on the performance. Adkins performed very well, despite the trickiness of a solo concert where it’s one man and a guitar, and errors can be much more noticeable. Once Adkins had finished his set, I asked him to answer a few questions for me about the show.
How was it like opening for Sea Wolf?
“It was a lot of fun. To be honest, I’d heard of Sea Wolf years ago, so it’s kind of odd to think that you might be opening for them someday cause you dig the records and you meet him and he’s just like a regular guy. It was a good crowd and I’m glad his crowd was receptive to what I was doing.”
What did you think of this type of solo/acoustic show?
“I liked it. This is how I started playing shows. I was doing that for a little while before I was in [my current band] Civil Brute and that’s how I kind of learned to play in front of people. It’s really scary, but that’s how I learned to do it. Stuff like this is a lot of fun though, because I get to play a lot quieter songs that I don’t get to play with a full band, music that’s more personal.”
Sea Wolf, or should I say, Alex Brown Church, performed next. Upon taking the stage, the atmosphere inside Jackrabbits was very lighthearted, with Church interacting with the crowd very casually. Intimate is the best way I can describe the next hour or so, as Church, acoustic guitar in hand, performed by himself in front of a captivated crowd. From one song to the next, Church flawlessly performed some of Sea Wolf’s best tracks including “Black Leaf Falls”, “Middle Distance Runner”, and of course, “You’re a Wolf”, which was simply amazing when performed in this raw musical style. After playing for what seemed like hours, Church thanked the crowd and walked off the stage, only to return just a few moments later to perform several more songs for Jackrabbits. When he finally finished, I approached Church, and to my surprise, he agreed to answer a couple questions for me about this unique performance.
Have you performed in Jacksonville before? And what did you think of this performance?
“I played here about two years ago in June 2010 and White Water, White Bloom had just come out so it was a band tour. We actually played at this same spot [Jackrabbits]. I had more fun this time than last time because last time we were opening for The Album Leaf and it was very noisy. Tonight was really awesome because it was very quiet.
What made you decide to do this type of solo show and where did the idea come from?
“At the end of that tour in 2010, I did a solo tour. The early days of Sea Wolf were often shows where it was me and two people and it was very stripped down like no drums, so some of the songs I feel are really good in that sort of a basic, solo and acoustic [setting]. I wanted to do a different kind of Sea Wolf show, since Sea Wolf is mostly me, and I didn’t want Sea Wolf to always be this one thing [the band]. I kind of wanted to do other configurations.
What’s in the near future for you and Sea Wolf? Can you tell me about the new album?
“I’m not sure when it’s gonna be done, but I’m hoping within the next few weeks. Then it’ll be another month before it’s manufactured and another two months before it gets out there, so probably this spring. The album will be a sort of limited thing, in between albums and record labels, that I wanted to put out for fans and just to stay busy. I wanted to do something that was a little more stripped down, and a little more reflective of the early Sea Wolf days because a lot of fans and friends have requested that kind of thing and I figured why not now?”