Saintseneca at The Neptune Theatre

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The first thing I noticed when Saintseneca took the stage is that Zac Little, the lead singer, has an amazing beard that is clearly superior to mine, and that’s ignoring the fact he’s still got a full mop up top. So clearly the rest of this review is tainted with that jealousy. Fortunately my pettiness didn’t affect their playing.

As the set progressed, they shuffled through a variety of instruments I couldn’t quite place. They felt familiar, but just different enough, like a bass with a body closer to that of a violin. After a quick post-review of their Wikipedia page, it appears they were a balalaika, mandolin, and bağlama. Regardless of the accuracy of that assessment, the variety speaks to their talent and uniqueness.

Well, besides that voice. For some reason Little’s voice instantly reminded me of some band I was introduced to way back in college. Unfortunately, after wracking my brain for another song or two, and then skimming through my own collection once I got home, I still can’t place it. Maybe that’s for the better.

But my deja-vu-like-feeling aside, I was a fan. To me, they felt very much like something you’d play sitting around a campfire, but when you wanted that musical complexity that expands beyond the classic and simple acoustic guitar standard. To reinforce that connection to nature, Little took a moment while tuning to comment:

“It’s nice to be in Seattle. I like your trees. You have very expressive trees. I saw this curvy one that was trying to tell me something.”

As he trails off and heads into the next song, I couldn’t help but smile and feel a little more at home. Being the opener for Murder by Death, I felt like they had some pretty big shoes to fill, and they did just that. Their uniqueness and campfire feeling meshed well with MBD’s style and helped set the tone for the main event.

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