Seether at The Electric Ballroom
To say that the crowd at the Electric Ballroom in Camden were eager to watch South African post-grunge merchants Seether take the stage and perform their particular brand of three-piece rock would be underselling the atmosphere.
The entire audience, which was made up of a hugely varied demographic (bearded metal-heads, scruffy grunge kids, a gang of suited men straight from the office) were practically foaming at the mouth in anticipation. The tension and energy in the space was utterly palpable, and for the next hour and half, from the first noisy screech of notes up to the last deafening blast of feedback, that tension and energy didn’t let up.
Seether are something of an anachronism in today’s musical landscape. Heavily indebted to the mid-90s grunge explosion, they exclusively deal in restrained verses and distorted, unleashed choruses, all played in a messy style that hides just how technically proficient the musicians actually are. If you close your eyes you’d swear that lead singer Shaun Morgan could be Kurt Cobain, having perfectly captured the late, great grunge martyr’s throaty, powerhouse vocal style, though he does occasionally slip into the nasal whine of Placebo’s Brian Molko.
Despite how out-of-step and unfashionable the music may be considered, the audience just doesn’t care, as they give themselves over to the band for the entirety of the performance, screaming lyrics back at them and moving as one.
As a live unit, they sound excellent. Delivering a high-octane performance that never even slightly lets up, especially the bassist, who spent the whole time throwing some serious rock poses, it’s Shaun Morgan’s vocals that are the most outstanding element of the evening. Despite being somewhat derivative of grunge heroes past, his delivery is phenomenally powerful and note-perfect throughout.
A band of very few words, there’s no in-between song conversations, and they leave the stage as quickly and silently as they entered; they let the music do the talking for them.
The only issue is, though the crowd are lapping up everything the band produce; in reality every song adheres to an extremely strict formula. It becomes apparent after the first four songs that everything the evening has to offer has been played out already. Though musically ferocious (if slightly uninspired), lyrically the whole thing comes across as almost cringingly angst-ridden.
Despite their standing as peddlers of a corporate style of grunge that holds no real relevance in today’s musical climate, they put on an incendiary live show.
Watch the video for Remedy here: