Waiting by King Street Wharf 6, I started to think to myself about what I was about to do. Three bands, one boat, one hundred or so punters and a lot of alcohol; you’d think it’s a recipe for disaster. Let me tell you it turned into one hell of a cocktail, and it was anything but disaster.
Celebrating the release of their debut album Don’t Let Go, Sydney sweethearts Dear Seattle set out to throw a party. The only difference to your run of the mill release party though, this one was on a boat. With Dune Rats and Ocean Alley shirts aplenty, we boarded the boat amidst an air of uncertainty around what we might have to look forward to.
After sailing the high seas for about half an hour, Wollongong locals Spit Chewy took to the stage. With most of the audience still on the balcony, the four-piece didn’t hesitate for a moment to put on an extremely fun show for those that had ventured downstairs to watch. Bringing their enjoyable blend of grunge and punk, the group exemplified the role of a support band in hyping and exciting the crowd.
Following in their footsteps, the night’s main support Blue Velvet took to the stage. As more people began making their way downstairs onto the floor the Sydney four-piece brought their incredibly amusing brand of punk to the fore. Fuelling their set with banter between themselves and the crowd, the band’s set seemed to be over in a flash, but not before everybody on the boat was about as hyped as they could get.
As Blue Velvet’s set finished up, and everybody without a drink or two in their hands flocked to the bar for a top up, the remainder of the crowd slowly began making their way downstairs for the grand finale. With most on board as eager as they were sloshed, to say that the boat was flooded with excitement is a grave understatement.
It took less than seconds for the room to fall into chaos. The band burst onto stage, opening their set with “Daytime TV”, the boat was rocking before Dear Seattle began but now you can bet it was rolling too. If I was worried we might tip over before, I was undeniably petrified that somersaults over the waves was now on the agenda.
As the set continued with the four-piece flying through hit after hit, both the band and the crowd were unrelenting in their energy. Crowdsurfers climbed over the top floor’s balcony to jump onto the crowd moshing below, while others jumped over friends and strangers to sing along to songs that had been released for barely a day. The show seemed so intimate and wholesome, with the entirety of the crowd packed as tightly to the front as they could possibly be.
Through both older songs and new, the band gave their all, and the pure joy that rested on the faces of all of Dear Seattle was unmistakable. Playing the majority of the new album for the first time, new setlist additions like “When I’m Gone” and “Bigger Than My Brain” went off like a charm, while the set undeniably peaked when the band played the hugely popular “The Meadows”. Punters screamed the words at each other the band, and I’m sure even from the Harbour Bridge you’d be able to hear the crowd yelling along to the iconic line “FUCK BEING SAD, I’M SO OVER IT!”
As the set came to an end you could just tell that even though the band had just released an incredible new album, they were only just getting started. Don’t Let Go translates terrifically live and while they’ve never been better, I daresay they’re only going to get much, much better. When Dear Seattle are ruling the world, the lucky few who got to witness the set will revel in their memories, and I feel incredibly lucky that I got to witness it too.
If you can pull off a set that good on a boat rocking as much as that boat was, you can pull off one anywhere, so what’s next Dear Seattle huh? An air balloon, free falling from 40,000 feet? Where ever it is, I hope that I get to be there too.