(Brian Currin was at The Mercury to watch Seether on their 2004 SA homecoming tour)
I had the privilege of seeing power trio Saron Gas play at the Jam in Cape Town on the 14th December 2001 on the eve of their leaving for the US to try, as Judas Priest sang, ‘Take On All The World’. Reviewing that show I wrote: “Saron Gas seemed to have mastered the elusive art of combining the energy and attitude of nu-metal with superb tunes and even sing-along choruses…”.
On the first weekend of this new year, I had the privilege of seeing them again, though a number of things have changed. The Jam is now the Mercury Live, Saron Gas is now Seether, the 3-piece is now a 4-piece, and the drummer has changed (a few times!). The current Seether lineup consists of Shaun Morgan (nee Welgemoed) taking guitar and vocal duties, Dale Stewart (the other original member) on bass and vocals, Pat Callahan on guitars and John Humphrey (from the Nixons) on drums.
Barney Simon introduced the band by reminding us that, “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” and then Seether roared in with ‘Gasoline’ which is currently in the Billboard top ten Modern Rock Tracks chart (and was the SA Rock Digest Song of the Year in 2002). They ploughed through all their hits and popular tracks including ‘Hang On’ from the ‘Daredevil’ soundtrack. ‘Fine Again’ (Billboard’s number 9 Modern Rock Track of the Year 2003) was dedicated to the late Dave Williams of fellow Ozzfest touring partners, Drowning Pool.
Morgan keeps his face hidden almost all the time behind a mane of hair, and he doesn’t talk much. That’s OK as we are not here to see his face or hear him speak, but rather to listen to the anger in his singing as he includes us in his healing process from his lack of acceptance as a teenager. In his solo spot during the set (‘Take Me Away’ with just him and his electric guitar) he looked like Andrew WK (without the bloody nose) and sounded like Kurt Cobain, tortured and alone. As he is quoted on the Seether website, “This, I suppose, is the only way I can purge, but it is therapeutic.”
On the side of the stage sat lead singer from Evanescence, Amy Lee, Shaun’s current girlfriend who he has described as “the girl he’s been looking for his entire life”. Amy Lee joined the band onstage for the closing number and though she may be small in size she has a huge voice, which soared above the grinding rock like the offspring of a banshee and an angel.
When Saron Gas left in January 2001 we wished them all the best as they plunged into the unforgiving US market. Now 2 years later they return home, acclaimed as new Rock Gods.
As the chorus of the anthemic ‘Out Of My Way’ from the ‘Freddy vs Jason’ soundtrack says; “Nobody’s gonna stand in my way, give it up, son, I’m doing it my way”. You better believe it.