GIG REVIEW: SEETHER – “Locked and Live”
They say hindsight is 20/20, a number of ominously relevant given events this year. If you were a frequent attendee of live shows, you’ll remember the rush of excitement when the doors open, charging the merch-stand before cementing your place in the crowd. The lights going down. The audience erupting in wild cheers as the band take to the stage, the members feeding off that unmistakable rush of energy. The first chord gets cranked and the band throws the energy back at the audience, who return it back again in this wonderful interplay of send and receive, all infused with mutual love and appreciation. Then came COVID. Bringing with it the challenge of how do you replicate, or substitute, for this online? Or can you?
In support of their new album, ‘Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum’, Seether performed an hour-long set to an empty venue streamed live and in real-time. Or so it was advertised. The setlist featuring some of their greatest gems, including “Remedy”, “Fine Again”, “Fake It” and “Nobody Praying for Me” to name but a few. It also gave birth to live debuts from their new album including “Beg”, “Bruised and Bloodied”, “Wasteland” and “Dangerous”.
For the most part, Seether played a tight set with many solid moments. Even the evident discomfort playing the new songs, performing with focus rather than fluidity, was somewhat to be expected and forgiven. However, there was a noticeable disconnect through the screen, the online environment being not conducive to that live, tennis-like interplay of energies. Not that you’d have known looking at some of the group chat, with die-hard fans gleefully engaging in conversation on every new song. Others, however, questioned whether or not the stream was actually live. Their speculation having some credibility as black screens delivered exactly ten-second durations between songs. Impressively tight or just a little too coincidental? The end result was a Seether performance that, while solid, came across more like a glorified rehearsal, or a sound-check, than it did a live show.
With touring brought to an imminent and indefinite halt, artists have found themselves in a precarious position and are actively looking for solutions. Yet socially distanced shows and drive-in concerts might offer better creative possibilities than those happening online. Sure, online you’re not restricted by geography and the world can see you play. But they only see you play. Seether’s dipping into the unprecedented live streaming waters might well have scratched an itch, but just barely. Just enough to let you know the itch is there. Lacking that visceral, immediate connection of being live in a room at this particular time, sharing in this unique, unrepeatable experience, online shows offer an inadequate substitute. For Seether live, in the flesh, is a wild growling beast. One that would savage this tamed, caged zoo animal.