As the clean up operation began in the aftermath of Hurricane Ophelia, Seether blew into town and kicked up a storm of their own. Too cheesy? Sorry about that, couldn’t be helped, weather clichés must be inserted into a review, thems the rules. The trio, along with touring lead guitarist Clint Lowery (that’s Clint Lowery as in Sevendust’s Clint Lowery), were winding down their month-long ‘Poison The Parish’ European tour and showed no signs of road fatigue. Before the darkness of Seether, we had the full-out assault of Sons Of Texas, a five piece groove machine from, where else, Texas. They certainly provided a wake up call for those wise enough to get in for the early start.
It’s been awhile since I’ve encountered an opening act as confident and full-on as the guys from McAllen, just a few miles from the US/Mexico border. Unleashed like hyperactive kids that had been plied with blue Smarties by their cool uncle, they wasted no time at all in making sure that everyone in the room was focussing on them. With vocalist Mark Morales on stage, you don’t really have the option of focussing on anything else. He’s like a whirlwind (sorry, another weather cliché), as he covers every inch of the stage. Prowling the stage like a young Phil Anselmo, Morales is the very definition of an in-yer-face frontman, and uses the allocated thirty minutes to lethal effect. His bandmates are not shy either, constantly changing sides, cajoling a response from the rapidly filling room. The shyness and reservation that many opening acts have are non-existent, as Sons Of Texas bulldoze their way through a selection of tracks from debut album ‘Baptized In The Rio Grande’ and the recent follow up ‘Forged By Fortitude’. ‘Blameshift’ was the stand out track from the debut, and live it is so much heavier, with the Villarreal brothers (Mike on drums and Nick on bass) really bringing the beef to the party. From the more recent album, ‘Expedition To Perdition’, is a total banger, with the more commercial ‘Beneath The Riverbed’ not that far behind. Before long, the all too short set is over and Sons Of Texas leave with a few hundred new fans converted to all things Texan. Headline shows are a must.
With minimum fuss, Seether take their positions in the darkness on stage, and open the set with ‘Stoke The Fire’, the opening track from current album ‘Poison The Parish’. Arguably the heaviest album of their lengthy career, it’s the perfect way to open the show. Vocalist/guitarist Shaun Morgan is positioned over on the far side with bassist Dale Stewart filling the centre stage spot. On the opposite side to Morgan is where you will find the imposing figure of Clint Lowery. Taking time out from his duties with Sevendust, Lowery is an immense presence, adding some stunning guitar fills to enhance what Morgan is laying down. As formidable as the front three are, it’s hard not to spend the evening watching drummer John Humphrey, perched high on a riser at the back. One of those musicians that you want to record and show any budding drummers out there… this is how you do it. Dipping into their illustrious back catalogue Seether quickly tear through both ‘Gasoline’ and ‘Truth’ to rapturous applause. It’s commendable that they can pull in a crowd year after year with little or no fanfare. They’ve never been the most fashionable, but each tour is bigger than the previous. Despite very little interaction with the crowd, the band have a great connection with their fans, with the crowd singing along on ‘Truth’, and the screams that greet the opening few bars of ‘Broken’ bear testament to this. Morgan utters “thank you” a few times after a song ends, but that’s really about it, no banter or chit-chat, preferring instead to let the music do the talking. A casual observer might take that as stand-offish, but the hardened Seether fans know what to expect. Apart from a view visits to ‘Poison The Parish’ (‘Betray And Degrade’ and ‘Let You Down’, as well as opener ‘Stoke The Fire’), the set is back to back Seether gems. ‘Fine Again’ and ‘Country Song’ are as as potent today as they were years ago, and set closer ‘Remedy’ gets the crowd bouncing as one. The set ends as it started, with minimum fuss, as the band take their bows and exit without a traditional encore. Last one to leave? John Humphrey, taking time to hand setlists to the front row as well as arcing drumsticks through the darkness into the crowd. I always love to watch the scramble for a drumstick, fair makes my night!
Review: Dave Stott
Band image courtesy of Marina Chavez