By Jeff O’Brien
Baton Rouge and Louisiana are gearing up for The New Orleans Jazz Festival soon, but do not overlook this show leading up to it. A music genre not usually incorporated at Jazz Fest, metal rock, is still one that will turn Baton Rouge on its head. The Varsity Theatre is hosting an intense show for its faithful followers, as the South African hard rocking band Seether will be headlining on April 22nd.
Opening for Seether is the rock band Black Stone Cherry from Edmonton, Kentucky. Comprised of Chris Robertson (lead vocals/guitar), Ben Wells (guitar/vocals), Jon Lawhon (bass/vocals), and John Fred Young – the son of The Kentucky Headhunters rhythm guitarist Richard Young – who keeps the crowd amped with his heavy drum kicks.
Black Stone Cherry’s lyrics show the influence country music has on the band. But do not be misled; Black Stone Cherry can turn that country vibe down at any moment and lay down an epic head-banging jam that will get the crowd rowdy for Seether. The band’s big hit White Trash Millionaire incorporates the blue collar lifestyle most country artists try to become synonymous with. This blend of hard and southern rock results with energetic heavy metal guitar riffs with a tinge of a slow southern piquancy.
Their new album Magic Mountain is set to release on May 6th, and Varsity attendees may be in luck to hear some of their new material.
The trio to headline, Seether, is from Pretoria, South Africa, and was formed in 1999 as Saron Gas. The post grunge band consists of Shaun Morgan (lead vocals/guitar), Dale Stewart (bass/backup vocals), and John Humphrey (drums).
It was extremely important to lead singer Morgan that the band explore all their emotions to bring diversity to their song writing. This was especially true when Seether went into the studio in 2007 to record their album Finding Beauty in Negative Places.
“You could tell,” Morgan says, “here’s my dark phase, then I got pissed off and started writing super metal riffs, as heavy as I could make it. Then I had my melancholy phase, all acoustic sad stuff.” Morgan’s melancholy phase shines in Seether’s most famous hit, “Broken,” accompanied by Amy Lee from Evanescence.
It was not the melancholy tone that put Seether on the map, though; this post grunge band made its name with the heavy ebb-and-flow of “Drive Under” and the grooving jam “Gasoline.” These songs got the attention of the Ozzfest tour and landed them a spot on their 2002 tour.
Morgan believes “their career has far exceeded their expectations,” and because of it they have become very grateful to their loyal fan base. A band that truly appreciates its fans is something special; Seether understands this and is indebted to them.