Seether at Canalside (2012)


It’s no surprise that South African post-grunge collective Seether drew the biggest crowd of the summer to the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf.  They’re coming off a headlining stint at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in 2011, and people just can’t seem to get enough of their Cobain-fueled depression rock.

From the moment Shaun Morgan set foot on stage, I couldn’t get the Nirvana image out of my head, because he stands at the microphone screeching with hair in his face exactly the way a certain musical anti-hero once did.

Everything about Seether’s vibe is an homage to the 90s bands that inspired them, so the music lives on in a way that appears to connect with audiences as much as it always has.

Songs such as “Fur Cue” and “Needles” carry the torch with hard-hitting antagonism, while others in the vein of “Broken” and “Tonight” offer a raw sensitivity used to make the band a crossover success.  In other words, the band is capable of capturing the attention of men and women in equal measure.

At times, it sounded as if the amplifiers were cranked up loud enough to bury the vocals beneath a heaping pile of reverb, but the technician nixed that issue in time for the numbers that everyone came to hear.

“Country Song,” “Fake It,” and “Remedy” were delivered in all their pummeling glory, much to the delight of those who only knew the material most often rolled out by mainstream radio.  Although Morgan didn’t say much, he and his wealth of guitars were prepared to let the performance do the talking.

Bassist Dale Stewart and drummer John Humphrey round out the trio in stellar fashion, because they attack their instruments with the lack of restraint reminiscent of Seattle’s finest rock visionaries.  The band isn’t quite on that level yet, but their mastery of a simple formula does make for some incendiary moments.

When we look back on the 2012 harbor season, Seether’s set should stand out as a solid entry from a band whose legitimacy and drive to succeed have separated them from the rubbish presently contaminating the rock landscape.

In today’s market, that’s an accomplishment in itself.



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