It was a nice evening in Kansas City on Wednesday, not too warm, not too cold, as a line snaked its way around the Midland Theater, two hours before showtime. An impressive early showing, for a mid-week show. Of course it was an impressive lineup; South African rockers, Seether, with support from Within Reason, and Saint Asonia. I’d previously seen Within Reason, and Seether, at Rockstar Uproar 2014 (click here for that coverage), so I already had high expectations, and was excited to see Saint Asonia.
The show started at 7:30, a little earlier than some shows, but with three bands on the bill, there was a lot of music to hear. There were clearly a lot of fans of Within Reason at the Midland that night, as the place was already filled in pretty well by the time they took the stage, and before they were done, the nearly 2,000 people who bought tickets had packed the GA level.
Hailing from Alabama, vocalist Chris Dow, guitarist Jordan Foster, drummer Griffin Zarbough, and bass player David Koonce, have been playing together for the past decade. Though they only played a 30 minute set, they hit the ground rock hard, and running, raising the energy of the crowd to a level which would only continue to grow through the night. Within Reason were plenty loud, with a thumping bass that reverbed throughout the theater and Chris Dow, wanting to make sure everyone could hear him, sang through a megaphone he held in front of the microphone.
After a short set break, Saint Asonia took to the stage to play their 11 song set, which included covers of Three Days Grace, and Staind (Animal I Have Become, I Hate Everything About You, For You, and Mudshovel, for those of you keeping score). But with Adam Gontier on lead vocals, and Mike Mushok on guitars, should anyone be surprised that Three Days Grace, and Staind, made it into the show?
Rounding out the rest of the lineup is Rich Beddoe on drums, and Corey Lowery, on bass. While some drummers draw their inspiration from John Bonhom, Neil Peart, and like Portnoy, Rich clearly took his cue from Animal from The Muppets (Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem is a real band, dammit. And I’ll wear their shirt if I want to!) With antics that went well beyond stick flips, including holding them in his teeth the same way a pirate might hold his cutlass.
Though only performing toegher as a band since April 2014, Saint Asonia released their self-titled album on July 31st of this year. Perhaps feeling that others might be skeptical of the future of the band, Adam assured the crowd by saying, “I don’t want you to think that we’re just a silver record band. We are here to stay,” much to the joy of the crowd. As they played, the energy of the crowd jumped to another level; clearly, just as many people came out just to see Saint Asonia, as had come to see Seether.
After a 20 minute set break, South African rockers, Seether took the stage. Their microphone stands were adorned with creepy dolls, and animal skulls, quickly setting the mood for the remainder of the evening; deep red, green, and purple lighting only added to the atmosphere. When they took the stage, bathed in deep, dark, colors, their grunge music came alive through the thick of it.
It’s hard to describe Seether as a high-energy group, because their brand of rock doesn’t always allow for it; however, they command the stage, and each member holds their place strongly, daring anyone to look away. With a lineup that has seen a number of changes through the years, Seether has managed to keep a consistent sound, and accurately replicate that sound in their live performances, something that not all musicians are capable of doing (and some can only do through the use of a backing track).
Seether put in a great show, that left many leaving the theater close to midnight, leaving only a few hours sleep before waking up the next morning. But that’s rock and roll, baby. The high from a good night’s sleep has nothing on the high you get from a rock show (or the high that some people get at a rock show, if you know what I mean). Seether is Shaun Morgan on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Bryan Wickmann on lead guitar, Dale Stewart on Bass, and John Humphrey on drums.
Sether’s setlist was: Gasoline, Needles, Rise Above This, Fine Again, Save Today, Broken, My Disaster, Same Damn Life, Nobody Praying for Me, Country Song, Lithium, Words as Weapons, Fake it, and Remedy.
Photos and words by Josh Chaikin