In the depths of a long, cold, Christchurch winter (and even longer pandemic), The Black Seeds arrived at the University of Canterbury’s Ngaio Marsh Theatre for a long-awaited album release and the opportunity for fans to connect, warm up and get their groove on.
The challenges of making this show happen were significant, with three shows already postponed, band members and management sick and travel disrupted. Despite all this, the resilience and desire of the mainstay of New Zealand’s music scene to come through for their fans was admirable. It would take a lot more to stop these guys doing what they do best.
Kicking off the show was four piece Christchurch psych/rock/hop band Dolphin Friendly. They immediately engaged the crowd with their hard-hitting Seattle-esque sound, warming the masses and delivering some body moving bangers.
The Black Seeds took to the stage and opened with their latest single ‘Game Over’. The vibe started to build with the classic strong bass lines and steady groove you could feel from your heart to your feet. The impressively capable (and well mustached) horn section took on the challenge of maintaining the percussive energy in place of one of the bands flagship members, Dan Weetman, whose absence due to illness was a little disappointing for the die-hard fan. However, his significant shoes were well filled by the skill and charisma of the rest of the band considering what they had been through for the show to go on.
The crowd were pumped and responsive as the simmering tempo of the show began to build. Late notice fill-in guitarist Conway Jeune held down the lead lines and groove backing up Barnaby Weir as the band settled into the vibe. Things really took off when they laid down their new track ‘It’s So Real’. The energy of the crowd and band alike grew and by the time the tell-tale riff of ‘Fire’ began, the crowd were eating out of their hands.
The experienced professionalism of the band maintained the spirit of the show throughout, mixing new tracks along with flashbacks of summer festival favourites such as ‘So True’ and ‘Cool Me Down. Finishing off the set with the classic track ‘Turn It Around’ saw the crowd belting out the familiar and well loved lyrics, then demanding more. An enthralling encore featured three hits from their 2006 album ‘Into the Dojo’ to wrap up the night. The new tracks fit into the set of much loved The Black Seeds classics seamlessly, displaying the bands ability to adapt, bring new growth and depth to their message whilst delivering a completely uplifting, and enriching performance which was a welcome escape in such bizarre times.