Review: Seafret @ Exeter Phoenix

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Phoenix, Exeter- Sunday 15th March

Having seen Seafret perform 4 years ago in the basement of a Manchester club, I had high expectations for this gig. Despite the rising fears surrounding COVID-19 after four people in Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital testing positive that morning, there was a decent crowd present for Seafret’s performance at Exeter Phoenix. The atmosphere at the start of the night was somewhat timid with the crowd fairly well spread in the standing area. However, as the night progressed and people got more comfortable, the atmosphere lifted with a few groups dancing and many others singing along.

The supporting act, Sophie Morgan, set the tone perfectly. Her musical style is very similar to Seafret’s so she eased the crowd into what to expect from the night. Morgan performed songs from her new EP, Marmalade, including the titular song and ‘Bar to Bar’, and won the audience’s affection with the story behind her homemade marmalade merch.

Following a brief drinks-break, Seafret came out. They opened the evening with the titular song from their new album Most of Us Are Strangers. The crowd remained rather reserved to begin with but became more involved when songs from their older album were performed, such as ‘Wildfire’. The atmosphere peaked with the performance of one of their biggest hits, ‘Be There’.

The lead singer, Jack Sedman, attempted to get the crowd more involved and active throughout the night but did not receive the response he had clearly hoped for. However, he did not let this stop him and as the mood lightened, people became more engaged.

As they moved through their set, Seafret managed to intertwine the bigger sound of their recent music with the more intimate and acoustic sounds of their first albums and older EPs. The addition of a dedicated drummer since the last time I saw them perform really added to this. However, at one point the drummer withdrew, leaving Sedman and guitarist, Harry Draper, to perform alone, allowing for a more accurate performance of their earlier sound. This increased the intimacy of the evening immensely and brought the audience much closer to the two performers.

This great gig was only let down by the crowd’s limited enthusiasm, which was certainly not a fault of Seafret themselves or due to any lack of encouragement on Sedman’s part. As the final night before the official introduction of social distancing and the University ordering us all home, it was certainly a memorable last night of freedom!

Hannah Fingleton 

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