GIG REVIEW: Seether & Sons Of Texas Live at the O2 Forum, Kentishtown, London
O2 Forum on a cool Sunday evening in London’s own Kentishtown. Stacked to the rafters. Fans brimming with pent up energy. An ever growing anticipation for the return of Seether, wrapping up their Poison The Parish Tour on Sunday, October 15th. Tonight’s date purposefully saved for the final leg of the bands U.K run for, as singer Shaun Morgan put it, “we always have a great time playing in this city.” A great time was expected by fans also, and sure enough Seether served up something more than just a great time, the phrase a complete understatement for the performance they delivered on the night.
Kicking things off, the crowd were treated to Sons of Texas, another band on the bill making their way back to the U.K capital. Having only performed there once before, S.O.T evidently stepped up their game since their last visit. Using every inch they could find as their own personal playground, both on and off the stage, S.O.T. filled the room with dueling guitar solos, devastatingly good slap bass, while singer Mark Morales commanded everything in between. If still retaining, if only a hint, something of the frat boy demeanor they would be better suited without, there was no denying that their performance launched the evening’s swing into immediate, full throttle.
A swing followed by London’s own LTNT, a band who have not only scraped up some serious home-town kudos, but also burrowed their way into the hearts of the evening’s headliners, becoming one of Seether’s own personal favourites out on the road. Walking on to the stage in their usual aftermath of a ladies night out attire to “Everybody Dance Now” over the P.A system, LTNT knew their hometown audience like the back of their hand and carried them through their wild, energetic set with ease.
Yet if both support acts garnered themselves some well-earned praise, patience began to wear thin. With a quick dimming of the house lights indicating their wait had, at long last come to an end, the Forum stage, enveloped in darkness, was met with an eruption of cheers and applause. As the South African rockers made their way on to the stage, shrouded in intense, red lighting, Seether began their set with the chaotic opener from ‘Poison the Parish’, “Stoke the Fire”. Almost immediately, the unhinged energy from the fans burst forth in a united, collective expression of unbridled exuberance. In what followed, alongside songs supporting their new record, the band toured through some of their biggest and best hits, featuring many fan favourites. From the tension building intro riff in “Gasoline,” to the seldom heard, but always enjoyed “Truth”, each song delivered a standout moment in itself. Co-founder and bassist, Dale Stewart, alongside veteran drummer (a position in the band once cited as the hot seat), John Humphrey, never let up. As did their latest touring guitarist, Clint Lowery, (Sevendust, Dark New Day) who laid to rest any concerns regarding his his place in the mix. Plaudits where they are due, Lowery owned each riff, each solo and every hook in the bands catalogue as if he had been there from their inception himself.
A man usually of few words on stage, Shaun Morgan, was in an exceptionally good mood and wasn’t afraid to make it known. And the fans loved it. During the call and response in “Nobody Praying For Me”, the crowd clapped along to the beat of “Country Song,” as well as fully taking over vocal duties on “Fine Again.” Throughout, Morgan was in his element, as were the entire band, a feeling shared by all who bore witness to it. Whether stripped back to an acoustic rendition of their swan song in “Broken,” or fully giving themselves over to the hypnotic effect found in the grooves to “Fake It”, by the end there was nothing anyone felt had been left out. And as far as ends go, this one almost left the Forum in ruins as the opening riff to “Remedy” saw its usual three and a half minute length dramatically extended, as Morgan crawled from the stage down into the crowd, handing the song over to them while he got up close and personal with those on the floor. The experience was electric! Amidst the ring outs and feedback, Morgan threw his guitar to an awaiting crew member on stage and left via the fire exit door next to the stage, shaking the hands of fans along the way as the rest of the band threw guitar pics, drum sticks and set lists to the crowd.
While the subject matter Seether deal with in their songs often reflects the harder hands life deals us, usually resulting in a rather moody, yet moving performance, on this night in London the band’s set was a more uplifting and celebratory affair. Life may knock you down, but this was about coming up screaming and swinging right back in for more. Hands raised, mosh pits opened, and songs sung until voices ran raw, the occasion drew smiles from both band and fans alike. Once again, Seether demonstrated their strongest quality: their unrivaled ability to connect. Masterful songwriting gelled with a sound that can either break your bones, or mend the heart, all married to a live performance that reaches right down inside whether you’re front row, in the shadows, or the rafters above. Nearly two decades into their careers, Seether prove, once again, why they are one of the most important hard rock bands out there today.