Skip to main content

Up-and-comers Seeing Double perform to enthusiastic crowd in live NYC debut

The up-and-coming Upstate New York band favorably compared to Fleetwood Mac and The Bangles played a tight and quite impressive set to a very enthusiastic crowd at a sold-out show on Saturday, June 4th.
Seeing Double are (left to right) guitarist Michael Aaron, drummer Dylan Travison, guitarist Zach Torncello, lead vocalist, bassist and songwriter Allie Sandt and backing vocalist Ali McQueeney. (Photo by Becca Torncello)

Seeing Double are (left to right) guitarist Michael Aaron, drummer Dylan Travison, guitarist Zach Torncello, lead vocalist, bassist and songwriter Allie Sandt and backing vocalist Ali McQueeney. (Photo by Becca Torncello)

By John Curley

The five-piece Seeing Double came together in March of last year at their university in Upstate New York. Comprised of lead vocalist, bassist and songwriter Allie Sandt, guitarist Michael Aaron, guitarist Zach Torncello, backing vocalist Ali McQueeney and drummer Dylan Travison, they honed their skills playing live shows in the area around their university. In January of this year, they released their first single. It consists of two tracks. “Leah” and “Don’t Wait.” The band promoted both songs on its TikTok page, and that exposure has paid off. Less than six months following the release of the single, “Leah” has been streamed over 2.2 million times while “Don’t Wait” has had over 142,000 streams. When the longtime English DJ John Kennedy played “Leah” on his X-Posure program on London’s Radio X in early February, he favorably compared the song to Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac and The Bangles.

After the band completed their spring semester classes, they set out on a mini-tour of several spots in the Northeastern United States. That mini-tour concluded with two shows on Saturday, June 4th at the legendary club The Bitter End on Bleecker Street in Manhattan. The first of the two shows was sold out, and the crowd, which included quite a few family and friends of the band members, was ready to rock from the word go.

Once the band took the stage to big cheers from the audience, they kicked off the show with the terrific propulsive rocker “Don’t Wait.” The band immediately showed just how cohesive they are as a unit. Sandt delivered a confident and strong lead vocal and Travison’s drumming on the song was quite impressive. Their outstanding performance of “Don’t Wait” set a high standard to match for the remainder of the set. But Seeing Double were on their game and rose to that challenge with great gusto.

The yet-to-be-released “Take It Or Leave It” was up next. It’s an excellent hybrid of power pop, rockabilly and alt-country. It received a tight performance, with a powerful lead vocal and some nice scat singing by Sandt, impressive guitar work by Aaron and standout drumming by Travison.

Impressive covers of “Valerie” by The Zutons and “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys followed. The former featured an outstanding lead vocal by Sandt and a tight performance by the band while the latter, a slower song, had good vocals by Sandt and McQueeney and nice work by Aaron during the guitar break. Sandt introduced the band during the instrumental break in “Heaven.” When the performance of “Heaven” concluded, Sandt and Aaron swapped instruments.

The band then performed four songs that Sandt wrote prior to the formation of Seeing Double. Sandt introduced the first of the songs, “Ace,” by telling the crowd that she wrote the song when she was still in high school, and she joked about how angsty the lyrics are. “Ace” has a quiet intro and then builds in power and volume. An impressive song to be written by someone in their high-school years, it has a pleasant alt-country sound to it. It received a big hand from the crowd. “Never” is an excellent bass-heavy rocker with snare-driven drumming that elicited a nice reaction from the audience. Sandt played the guitar intro on the bass-heavy, somewhat funky “GBL” as well as providing a strong lead vocal. The slower song “Flood” featured impressive guitar work by Torncello in the intro as well as in the instrumental bit at the end of the song.

Three covers were then performed in succession. The take on Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby” had a bass-heavy intro as well as strong, sassy vocals by Sandt and McQueeney. It was impressive and got a nice hand at the end. Aaron, donning a cowboy hat, introduced the Garth Brooks song “Friends In Low Places” as well as doing the lead vocal. He did a good job. And the band backed him with a tight performance with Sandt’s bass at the foundation. McQueeney took over lead-vocal duties for the rendition of Kings of Leon’s “Sex On Fire.” She provided a powerful vocal that was underpinned by the excellent playing of the band.

Sandt introduced the original song “Bygones” by saying that the band hopes to release it by the end of the summer. She then did a powerful lead vocal on the song. The performance of the song included a great twin guitar attack by Aaron and Torncello during the instrumental break. Prior to the performance of the next song, a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” Sandt discussed the band’s roots, the mini-tour that was concluding that night and how happy the band were to be able to close it out in New York City. The cover of “The Chain” was quite good. It featured impressive vocals by Sandt and McQueeney as well as pounding bass and stinging guitar in the song’s midsection. It received a massive reaction from the crowd.

The biggest test of the night would be how well their performance of their best-known original song, “Leah,” would go down. The band delivered a lush and nuanced version of the song that had the crowd singing along throughout. Sandt and McQueeney both gave great vocal performances, Travison’s drumming was solid and Torncello did some nice bass playing. The main set concluded with a bass-and-drums-heavy, rocking cover of Harry Styles’ “Kiwi.” McQueeney played bass for the song, and she and Sandt teamed for a fantastic vocal performance. The crowd loved it.

The encore was a terrific cover of the 1991 solo song “Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane, who had fronted the Canadian rock band Red Rider. Many in the crowd were on the young side and are likely more familiar with the cover of “Life Is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts that featured on the soundtrack to the 2006 film Cars. The audience sang along at the top of their voices to the performance by Seeing Double that featured a strong lead vocal by Sandt and stellar guitar work by Torncello and Aaron during the instrumental break.

It was nice to see a young band with worthwhile songs and the musical chops to back them up that knows how to have fun onstage and enjoys engaging the audience in the performance. Seeing Double are a much-needed antidote to the too-cool-for-school young bands long on attitude but short on talent that all seem to think they are the second coming of Television.

Seeing Double’s upcoming live performances include: Saturday, June 11th at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, NJ; Saturday, July 2nd at Freedom Park in Scotia, NY; and Sunday, August 7th at Mercury Lounge in New York City.

“Leah” can be heard below:

  

The setlist for the first show at The Bitter End on Saturday, June 4th was as follows:

Don’t Wait (Seeing Double song)
Take It Or Leave It (Seeing Double song)
Valerie (cover of The Zutons’ song)
Heaven (cover of Los Lonely Boys’ song)
Ace (Allie Sandt song)
Never (Allie Sandt song)
GBL (Allie Sandt song)
Flood (Allie Sandt song)
Runaway Baby (cover of Bruno Mars’ song)
Friends In Low Places (cover of Garth Brooks’ song)
Sex On Fire (cover of Kings of Leon song)
Bygones (Seeing Double song)
The Chain (cover of Fleetwood Mac song)
Leah (Seeing Double song)
Kiwi (cover of Harry Styles’ song)

Encore:
Life Is A Highway (cover of Tom Cochrane’s song)