June 16, 2017 Tigers Jaw Take Over El Corazon Seattle, WA 6-10-17 w/ Smidley & Saintseneca
There are several reasons music enthusiasts flock to the Pacific Northwest: it is the birthplace of Grunge, the Riot Grrrl movement, Jimi Hendrix, and countless others. The area is packed with interesting little venues like El Corazon, where Scranton, Pennsylvania natives Tigers Jaw brought their tour on Saturday, June 10th, to Seattle, Washington. Following a shift in their lineup, the band bounced back with their new album spin, released on May 19, 2017.
Touring in promotion of their latest effort, the new LP is the band’s fifth since forming in 2005, but it marks their first with new label Black Cement. Furthermore, spin is also the first Tigers Jaw record featuring only Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh – after finishing recording their 2014 LP Charmer, three members of the band amicably bowed out of the band. Thankfully the split did not hold back Collins and Walsh, who continue on as a duo while proving to be just as capable on their own.
To help Tigers Jaw celebrate the release of their acclaimed new record, the band brought openers Smidley and Saintseneca along with them. Smidley is the nascent project of Conor Murphy, best known as the vocalist of Indie/Math-Rock band Foxing, but there are few musical similarities between Murphy’s two projects aside from his distinctive, unmistakable vocals. Smidley’s eponymous debut album was released on June 2nd through Triple Crown Records and has already garnered wide acclaim for its high-energy, catchy tracks. Though Smidley is a solo project, Murphy brought a full band with him to kick the evening off.
With their first song, Smidley told the crowd how they really felt. “No One Likes You,” also the band’s first single, was the perfect start to the band’s bouncy, energetic set. Fans danced along to the deceivingly upbeat “Dead Retrievers” before the band went into the slow and heavy album closer “Under the Table.” An impressive guitar solo during “It Doesn’t Tear Me Up” proved to be a hit with the crowd, and following that, the growing crowd became progressively more interested in the band’s excellent music. Murphy closed the band’s set by handing his guitar over to a member of Saintseneca so that he could have full range of the tiny stage during “Fuck This.” Murphy hung over the crowd, flung himself onto the floor – or maybe he tripped, either way, it looked cool -as he wailed through the infectious track. It was an impressive end to the night’s first set and succeeded in getting fans amped up for Saintseneca and Tigers Jaw.
After a lengthy soundcheck, the band began their set with the simple-but-catchy “Happy Alone,” before bringing the energy up with a track from their most recent album, Such Things, “River.” Fans bobbed their heads along while watching the band’s impressive musicianship with curiosity. The set continued with a newly released single “Book of the Dead on Sale,” followed by slower, bass-driven “Only the Young Die Good” and the catchy track “Lazarus.” With “Acid Rain,” members of the band switched instruments around, each displaying their exceptional talent and each getting a time to shine throughout the set. However, during the band’s quieter songs like “Blood Bath,” the crowd in the bar area could be heard chatting over the sound of the music. El Corazon is a small club with a limited capacity, meaning that all sounds can be heard by everyone in the room. Even so, that did not take away from the band’s excellent closing songs “Sleeper Hold” and the intricate “Maya 31.” All told, Saintseneca put on a fun and unexpected set that hopefully earned them a few new fans.
Entertained by two exciting acts, once it was finally time for Tigers Jaw to take the stage, fans packed themselves tightly into the cramped area surrounding the stage as they eagerly awaited the band’s arrival. The crowd went wild once the band, bolstered by touring members Pat Benson on guitar, Luke Schwartz on bass, and Teddy Roberts on drums, filed onto the stage to Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
Kicking off their set with the first track from spin, “Follows,” it was clear that fans were already familiar with and digging the band’s new music even though the album had been out for less than a month. The already buzzing energy in the room soared when the band went into “Frame You,” but the crowd flew into a frenzy upon hearing one of the band’s oldest and most beloved songs, “The Sun.” The song’s live version is truly the only way to experience it – the original recorded version is quiet and subdued, but when performed on stage the energy and intensity flying between the band and the crowd is insane to watch. The floor of the club shook as the crowd jumped and moshed along to the song’s catchy chorus.
Following that, the band rolled into another new track, “June,” this time led by Collins on vocals. Keeping the momentum going with “Nervous Kids,” and “Make It Up,” fans continued flying onto the stage – this was not hard to do considering there was no barricade separating the crowd and the stage. The energy surged through older tracks “Meet at the Corner” before taking a moment to talk about their new record and thanking those who purchased or streamed it. Then, Collins took the lead once again on new track “Brass Ring” before Walsh took the reins again on another charmer from Charmer, “Distress Signal.”
Fans moved and sang along to new jam “Guardian,” but went crazy again with one of the band’s most well-known songs, “Plane Vs Tank Vs Submarine.” The song started off with only Walsh on guitar, with the crowd’s shouted lyrics nearly drowning him out, before being rejoined by the rest of the band. Another fan-favorite “Chemicals” followed that, and the energy soared during “I Saw Water” and “Never Saw It Coming,” both from the band’s 2010 self-titled album. The crowd screamed along to the latter, once again nearly drowning out Walsh. However, the band had to cut the music mid-song to stop some dangerous activity from going on in the crowd, but following that, the song continued without missing a beat, building to its intense crescendo. The set came to an end with the closing track from spin, “Window,” and then the band filed off the stage. Of course, though, they returned to play “Hum” for their closer.
Exiting El Corazon buzzing with excitement, and with new Tigers Jaw merch in hand, it was a show no one would soon forget. For those who want to catch the band on this tour, it will continue rolling through the eastern US, including a stop in New York City, before Tigers Jaw hops over for some festival dates in the UK.