25 Aug 2006 // A review by johnsoncraigsbc
Alexander Kapranos once said “It’s always better on holiday”, and I’ve come to the conclusion he was comprehensively correct in saying so. There’s something about being away from home that makes everything that much more exciting, so I packed up the car, got the lads, bought some booze and headed out into the unknown for some guaranteed chaos.
Being a Wellington lad with an excessive amount of free time, I packed my bags and headed for that bright light over the horizon that is Palmerston North. Here I would be witness to the tenth show in a nation wide, album release tour. 'Into The Dojo', being The Black Seeds third studio album, had made number one and I knew their gigs would be a must see. The eight piece band, including two drummers, two guitarists, a keyboardists, bassists and a sax and trumpet player, put on one of the best shows I’ve seen in many years, and one I’m not likely to forget for many more.
First of all I must say hats off to the good folk at MUSA (Massey University Student Association) for the awesome venue! If you ever want to go to a concert filled with people your own age and who share the same love for the band then get along to a concert at a university hall. These places are always packed out with students all after the same thing, some fun! This place was perfect for The Black Seeds to work some magic. It was a large venue, but not so big as to create unwanted acoustic problems. The sound throughout the concert maintained high quality which was nice because we all wanted to hear the lyrics without distortion overriding that. As well as having cheap beer, the bar was in close proximity to the stage, so becoming thirsty throughout the gig wasn’t an issue.
After what seemed like forever The Black Seeds took to the stage in all their glory. At that moment, everybody in the room knew that whatever happened next, it would be great. Needless to say, it was. Starting with songs off their new album, that everybody obviously knew, really amped everybody up, and I have to admit even I got my dancing shoes on and caught some of the contagious vibe. Everyone in the room was grooving, and it felt wrong not to dance along. Anyone who wasn’t moving would’ve been at the much anticipated outbreak of ‘So True’. It was obvious this had been one of the songs the crowd had been waiting for, with the sing along and the dancing, and the obvious enjoyment of the band as well, this song absolutely went off!
The group as a whole make some incredible music. They have an ability to create those soulful choruses that you don’t want to end while integrating instrumentals that showcase their individual musical talents. There were plenty of musical highlights throughout the evening but some were just too good not to mention. The first one was the trumpet solo midway through the set. Powerful, controlled, and long, all things we love. Secondly was the doubtless talent of the bongo drummer/ back up vocalist. Hidden away in the corner he sometimes went unnoticed but his presence was never lost. Using a variety of instruments to accompany his high quality singing he was outstanding the entire night through. Last but not least I couldn’t go past the flare of the keyboardist. One solo was all it took to showcase his high skill level and he was undoubtedly very learned in his field. Probably one of the better keyboard solos I’ve heard for a long time, and the fact that he seemed so modest about it all made him seem even more capable.
At this moment I didn’t think things could get much better, but I’ve been known for speaking too soon. When The Black Seeds left the stage we all knew it wasn’t going to be the last time we saw them that night. The encore was one of the highlights of my night. New Zealand chart topper ‘One By One’ was their final song, and they couldn’t have ended the show with more of a bang if they tried. The chorus is just so catchy you can’t help but sing it out and dance the night away. No one wanted it to end, so some extended instrumentals went along way with the crowd.
It was one of those occasions you cannot stop talking about for days after the event. It was definitely one of the better live concerts I’ve seen in a while, and the casual nature of all those who attended really made a nice change from an aggressive mosh pit. The Black Seeds new album ‘Into The Dojo’ has been number one in New Zealand for a month now, and after seeing them live in Palmerston North last night, I can comprehensively see why.