You've seen the white and black Sealion sticker at most bars around Deep Ellum. Luckily, the band is worth the attention, and they're even hitting the road with the Toadies at the end of March. Friday, they play "the final Annex House show" at the fabled Lakewood crash pad.
All four members of the band shared their first show experiences, from the good (Weezer) to the bad (Yellowcard).
What was the first show you remember seeing? Were your parents with you? Hunter Moehring (vocals/guitar): My first show I was probably seven or so and my stepdad took me to see Yes at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston. I don't remember much except I really wanted to leave. I guess I knew right away I didn't like prog-rock. Still don't. Alex Poulos (drums): Weezer and Sparta at Coca-Cola Starplex. My parents dropped some friends and I off, and we sat on the lawn. That was the first time I heard Sparta, which lead to an obsession with At the Drive-In. John Warwick (vocals/bass): My stepdad took me to the first real show I ever attended. It was Counting Crows and Live at Coca-Cola Starplex in, like, 1997. I remember having fun. I also remember it being the first time I'd ever been around pot. I thought it smelled bad. Cole Denton (guitar): When I was young my uncle managed a Beatles cover band called Rubber Soul. My parents took me to see them pretty often. I don't think I realized they weren't playing original songs until I was older.
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What was the first show you paid to see? Hunter: The Vans Warped Tour when I was like 12 or so. I really wanted to go see NOFX and The Vandals. Most of my childhood was spent listening to The Decline and So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes. I was really into '90s punk and skateboarding.There used to be a rec center down the street from my house that had a half-pipe and would have local bands play so I spent a lot time there. Alex: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at the Gypsy Tea Room. There was maybe a handful of people there. John: I'm pretty sure the first show I paid to see was Pete Yorn at the Gypsy Tea Room. I would've been like 16 at the time and it was my first trip to Deep Ellum. I guess I liked it because I spent the rest of high school driving to Dallas every Friday and Saturday night just to see what was going on, and now I live in Deep Ellum. Cole: I mowed lawns all summer to go see Metallica in '98 or '99. In typical Metallica fashion, tickets were over $100. It was in August at Texas Stadium. I remember a fat lady in front of us flashing the crowd during "The Thing That Should Not Be." The comedic timing still makes me laugh.
What was the first show that made a major impact on you? Hunter:I would have to say seeing all those local bands when I was younger. It made the whole thing real, you know. It made it seem as though being in a band was reachable. I figured if they could get up there and play music then so could I. Alex:Yo La Tengo at the DMA auditorium.The whole band adapted their set to fit the room, and it really got me going on the idea of dynamics and playing for the room. John: I think the first show that had a major impact on me was the first time I saw the Decemberists at Trees. The show that has had the biggest impact on me was seeing Sigur Ros at the Bass Performance Hall. To me, that is the perfect concert experience. The sound was great, the music was perfect for the setting and the room is amazing. That was also the only show I've ever been to where every single person in the audience was totally wrapped up in the performance. No one moved or spoke or dicked around on their phones for almost two hours. I doubt I'll ever experience anything like that again. Cole: That would have to be Sparta/Hot Water Music/Glassjaw at the Gypsy Ballroom in '02 or '03. Three of my all-time favorites, and they all played killer sets.
So far, what's the worst show you've seen? Hunter: I was dragged to a rave one time and just hated it. The people, the music, the lights. No amount of hard drugs can make those things an enjoyable experience. It's just terrible. I can't remember any DJs that were there or the name of it but everyone was named Starchild or Moonbeam or some other bullshit. Does that count? Alex: Watching No Use for a Name open up for NOFX was pretty bad. They were relentlessly clenching to that pop-punk stage presence, and at the age of 40 no less, so it kind of took me out of the show. Too much onstage jumping and pick slides. John:T his is a really hard question, 'cause I've seen a lot of bad stuff from nice people. I think I'm going to chicken out and choose an easy target. I saw Coldplay at American Airlines Center when they were touring for X&Y. Everything about it was awful. You were gouged by Ticketmaster, gouged for parking, and gouged for drinks all so you can barely see some band from a million feet away. American Airlines Center is a great place for a basketball game, but it is dreadful for concerts. The sound is absolutely terrible. I promised myself I would never go to another arena show after that, and I'm proud to say that I have not. Cole: I once watched an entire Yellowcard song at the Warped Tour. Does that count?
And what do you remember about the first Sealion show? Hunter: Our first show was at Novemberfest and I remember all of us wearing sweaters and ties like some '60s pop band for some reason and being just miserably hot. We played maybe five songs and just tore threw the set. I think we were all a little nervous and had the first show jitters. Alex: Not much.There was a lot of drinking. I remember the set being brief and I slept outside. John: Well, like the other guys have mentioned, our first show was at an all-day music festival. The thing I remember most was that this really incredible band called Har Harrar played right before us and did this beautifully understated set that was really moving. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but was really annoyed that I had to get up and play bass in front of people for the first time ever. I was certain I was going to forget everything and make a complete ass of myself. Cole: Sweaty. Drunken. Brain Damage.