The highlight of the Sea Lions tour in Japan last February wasn’t one of their Tokyo shows. Or visiting any of the sights like Mt. Fuji. It was a booze-fueled night of karaoke.
“We were all crammed in this room and there were tambourines and maracas all over the place,” says frontman Adrian Pillado. “We had bottomless pitchers for two hours.”
The evening closed out with Pillado standing on a table banging two tambourines together and singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” like a crazed banshee. Pillado and the Sea Lions – playing Saturday at the Alternative Cafe – bring that same kind of fun-spirited hijinks to their music. Most of the 15 tracks on its full-length debut with the full-length name, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask, hover around the two-minute mark, an ideal amount of time to relay quick bursts of instantly gratifying sunshine pop.
In the spirit of bands like Best Coast, the tambourine heavy “Grown Up” is a surfy smile fest meant to go with a drive down the coast, while “My Girl” (not a cover of The Temptations song) charms with its childhood crushes and vintage Ricky Nelson instrumentation.
The Sea Lions plan on touring Europe next year and returning to Japan, where they undoubtedly will have some more epic karaoke sessions. They also hope to release another album.
“As long as we continue to play shows and put out records we’re happy,” Pillado says.
Opener and fellow creature of the sea Manatee offers a sound flavored with skuzzy mid-80s pop-punk. On tunes like “Mr. Super,” the Bay Area outfit executes a sharp, Minutemen-inspired jolt of electricity which Mike Watt would dig.
SEA LIONS and MANATEE perform at 8pm Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Alternative Cafe, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. $5. 583-0913, www.thealternativecafe.com.