Live Review: Seether w/Sons Of Texas And LTNT | 02 Institute, Birmingham | 18/10/17

Birmingham was alive and in good form on Wednesday 18th October as Seether rolled into town for the final leg of their tour promoting their latest album, Poison The Parish. Culminating the long journey in the very home of heavy metal, the humble O2 Institute may at first seem a bizarre choice for such a revered artist to sign off at, however the smaller venue did prove to provide quite a more intimate setting for what was certainly a keen and supportive fan-base. Perhaps needless to say then, that both the floor and the seating in the balcony above were all filled to capacity. One could also argue that the South African trio are not really prone to flashy displays of grandeur like you might expect from other artists, as was evident from their performance that night, but we’ll get to that later.

The show began with their first support act; Sons of Texas [8], who kicked off the night with an explosive ferocity that instantaneously brought the eager crowd to life. It was an exemplary performance- the band comes off like an amalgamation of Black Stone Cherry and Godsmack, and were the perfect choice for a prelude to the headliner. Vocalist Mark Morales owned the stage with an incessant energy that was as contagious as it was commendable. The band as a whole, in fact, exuded a terrific stage presence that kept the whole audience psyched and in good spirits, as any capable support act should. In a time where careers in the music industry ever-increasingly rely on income generated from live performances, Sons of Texas rose to the challenge with great aplomb, and demonstrated that they are most definitely a band to keep a weather eye on.

With the audience suitably primed, SoT vacated the stage for the second act of the show, a band called LTNT [4]. Regrettably, one must report that they simply were not up to the task of following such a profound performance, nor were they particularly suitable for a forerunner to Seether, for that matter. That is not to say at all that this band was without merit - they did appear to be a more than capable artist and performed well live (despite one belligerent heckler after the first song, who seemed enraged by the all-male band’s choice in floral dresses, which were perhaps too summery for his tastes…).

The issue however lay not in their ability, but in their suitability as a supporting artist wedged between Sons of Texas and Seether. Whilst Sons of Texas strove to get the audience pumped, primed, and ready, building up a splendid atmosphere in which to welcome on the main event, LTNT’s comparatively more ‘chilled-out’ and significantly less intense vibe almost negated all that the prior performance had sought to create, and the effect could be seen throughout the crowd, whose enthusiasm waned and dwindled as the set went on. This unfortunate lull and loss of momentum is the only real negative to take away from an otherwise flawless event.

Eventually though, after what was a rather drawn-out turnaround following LTNT, it was time for Seether [7] and as mentioned earlier, they weren’t hanging around in the limelight for even a minute - no sooner had they took to the stage than they were immediately thrashing out the first track off Poison The Parish, ‘Stoke The Fire’. The reason for remarking that this rather more understated commencement may not have been so out of the ordinary for the group is due to the more than positive response from the elated spectators. Not one audience member could be seen as unimpressed by the spectacle of Seether taking to the stage without even a mere “hello”- in fact they hardly said a word or made much acknowledgement of their gathered fans until they reached the climax. There is something quite admirable about a band that just gets stuck in and gets on with their performance, as that at the end of the day is what everyone has turned up to see. What was most amusing however was how for the whole duration of the show, it was near impossible to make out frontman Shaun Morgan’s face through his untamed mop, as if he were emulating the famously facially-elusive Sia.

With regards to how they sounded, it was as if listening straight off the record- they simply could not be faulted in their ability to perform live. Technical issues were minor and only few in number, and proved to be no major concern for the talented and on-the-ball tech crew present, who handled any difficulties as they arose quickly and efficiently without causing any interruption or delay to the show. As for the music itself, Seether did not let the fact that they were touring to promote Poison The Parish overly dominate their repertoire - the setlist of the night was a healthy mix of both their latest work and also some of their celebrated classic tracks, catering for fans new and old.

They even performed a very enjoyable, toned-down reinterpretation of ‘Broken’, featuring only Morgan and bassist Dale Stewart (sadly no surprise appearance from Amy Lee), which allowed drummer John Humphrey and their touring guitarist Clint Lowery to catch a cheeky and well-earned break. With use of such twists on their music as this, testing the audience’s full understanding of these popular songs, and a general attitude demonstrated throughout of striving to perform in a way that you are incapable of experiencing from just a record, Seether manages to successfully reiterate the importance and significance of live music, and how this art has managed to survive and help keep rock alive to this day.

Being the final show of the tour, this was as you could imagine an evening filled with some celebration and shenanigans, much to the delight of the audience. There were some interesting costumes donned by the crew on a couple of occasions- one being a demented rabbit and the other something that could well have been Dat Boi - and with the finale encore of ‘Remedy’, the audience was treated to Seether being joined on stage by all their support artists from Sons of Texas and LTNT and many of their crew to help close the night in both a momentous and undoubtedly hilarious fashion. All-in-all, it made for a fitting apex to one hell of a show and, as the contented audience filed out of the O2 Institute buzzing from the experience, the overarching appraisal of the event was clear- the next time Seether rolls into town, it is an experience you are not going to want to miss.