Meadowbrook Pavilion, Gilford, NH
September 3, 2012
Review by Bridgette
Photos by Micah Gummel.
To view the entire collection of photography from this event, visit the NECR photo gallery HERE.
The Meadowbrook Pavilion was alive with anticipation for the headline act of the 2012 Rise Above Festival, Seether. Seether front man, Shaun Morgan, created this tribute event to support the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI) with the specific goal for the proceeds to go to Suicide Prevention in children and teenagers. The entire day was filled with community outreach, educational information and shout outs from every band, local DJ’s, newscasters and producers. The message was clear: Through music, community and caring for each other, when facing life’s problems, no matter how extreme, together we can RISE ABOVE IT!
With their latest release, Holding On To Strings Better Left to Fray, (May, 2011), at the top of the Billboard Hard Rock and Rock Charts, the history of this hard working band has a brought forth a new life cycle.
Shaun Morgan – vocals, guitar
Dale Stewart – bass, vocals
John Humphrey – drums
Every band increased the energy of the crowd, psyching them up for Seether. Seether’s soundcheck itself was massive. But in keeping time with the humility of this band, and their tendency to let their music speak for itself, when it was time for them to headline, Seether walked onto the stage without fanfare.
Named after a Veruca Salt song, “Can’t fight the Seether,” this trio, which has its origins in South Africa, sounded as massive as the acts before them, even though they had fewer musicians. They opened the night with the power punch of “Fur Cue,” just to remind this crowd that being real is all that will be tolerated. The liars will reveal themselves to the truthsayers, there is no compromise. This is from their new Strings album and it is clear why Seether has the staying power that continues to keep fans engaged since 1999. The songs from Seether hit every rocker’s emotional home, bringing them out to the forefront, dealing with life and each other – straight on.
“Gasoline” meant business with precision timing and fantastic musicianship. Disclaimer (2002) was re-released, and its anniversary is being celebrated on their website. Dale Stewart commands the bass on this track, which was inspired by Humphrey’s drum beats. It is the heart of the straight line that gets you in the gut as you hear it and to see it live, you can actually “feel” the song. Shaun’s screams rage through your head, but then come down to steady rock octaves, which shows his wide vocal range on this song.
During “Needles,” Shaun came to the edge of the stage, just wailing on the guitar, and started jumping. Vibrating, the intensity was visible, audible, and transmitted thru the floor. Watching Seether, as a band, you could understand they were one with their instruments, almost collapsing and blurring the boundaries of man, music machine and audience, as each member melded into the music. Cheers from the crowd erupted, this is what we came for! Wild sounds were exchanged back and forth from the stage to the crowd. Shaun Morgan, “We’re just gonna lay some f*in music out here!”
Disclaimer brought more tracks to this live performance, including, “Fine Again,” joined by Wes Scantlin. What seems to be important to Seether, is that the music is discovered by fans, the essence of it. It is important not to ‘overthink’ the songs, yet the writing has layers of complicated nuances. A searing guitar in transition lead to the fan favorite, “Broken.”
The stage lights softened and Shaun asked, “You guys got any lights or cellphones? Let’s light this one up!” “No Resolution,” joined again by Wes Scantlin, on vocals, hit the Meadowbrook crowd with mutli-facted phrases and images. From, Strings, the message is overcoming the deceit of others and continuing to be true to yourself.
A fantastic drum solo from John Humphrey followed. The evening continued with a full set of fan favorites and ultimate chart toppers. The highlight of the night, the reason why these rockers traveled far and wide, was to gather in unison to hear the song dedicated to Shaun’s brother, “Rise Above This.”
“While the name of the festival derives from one of Seether’s hit songs “Rise Above This”” both the song and the festival have much more meaning to the band, especially lead singer Shaun Morgan. The song itself was originally written to bring Shaun’s younger brother Eugene Welgemoed out of his depression. Sadly Eugene ended his own life at a very young age before getting to hear the song he inspired.
It was a tribute to remember. These rockers had a chance tonight to scream out for their loved ones, and reach out to each other. The feeling of being yourself, standing with pride and experiencing who you are without restraint, is an important part of living life to its fullest.
Thank You, Seether!
Fine Again (with Wes Scantlin)
Broken (with Wes Scantlin)
Rise Above This