Band Feature – KONGOS

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Kongos Perform at JBTV Music Television Studios in Chicago, IL

Kongos Perform at JBTV Music Television Studios in Chicago, IL – Source: Kongos Official Facebook Page

 

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The Kongos’ label, Just Music, presented us with a plaque for Lunatic going Gold! (South Africa)

The youngest of the four Kongo brothers, Danny was born in South Africa. The other three brothers were born in London and moved to South Africa when they were more or less one to two years old. They grew up surrounded by music as their father was John Kongos, a South-African musician who enjoyed two Top 5 UK pop hits in the early seventies.Over time he gravitated more towards the production side of the industry, he enjoyed the studio more than he did touring. His father built his own studio and he worked together with producer Mutt Lange on Def Leppard’s “Pyromania”.

The family moved from South Africa to Paradise Valley in 1996 and this is where the boys had a chance to hone their craft in the basement studio and cut their latest album. All four brothers attended Chaparral High School, only Johnny and Jesse tried college, but both of them never finished. The brothers wanted to earn their living through music and Jesse and Johnny were playing in jazz groups. Danny and Dylan didn’t finish High School and never had the desire to have a career in anything but music, school was viewed as an obstacle by the brothers more than as a means to an end.

The Kongos played their first show at a coffee shop in Mesa in 2003, the place was packed. The Kongos’ friends and family came out to support the band and thereafter the number of audience members dwindled, but that first show gave the band a taste of what it felt like to play to a larger audience. The brothers always had their parents’ support, their dad was in the music business which meant they had access to an amazing facility and mentor.

The band went on to hone their craft releasing their debut album “Kongos” in 2007. The album did not spawn any major breakthroughs. Fast forward to 2010 and the band had a lot of expenses recording and touring, but they weren’t generating a lot of income. They had already recorded a large part of their sophomore album “Lunatic” and were performing the songs live. They were sending songs to record labels and radio DJs, to no avail. The band was starting to doubt the longevity of their music career when they got a break at a radio station in Phoenix and started generating interest. Soon another radio station started playing their songs which reflected in the size of the audiences they were performing for in Phoenix.

The band sent e-mails to various radio stations across the world among them South Africa ,the program director for 5FM (national radio station) responded, because he loved the song and decided to play it to more or less 2 million listeners.

The station played “I’m Only Joking” and The Kongos blew up overnight. The proof of the country’s reaction was evident with the influx of people who “Liked” the band’s official Facebook page and interacted with posts. After an extensive tour in South Africa the band went back to the United States and it took another year for the band to have a breakthrough. In the meantime the band wasn’t being idle and they worked on what would eventually become “Egomaniac”.

Initially their record label Tokoloshe Records decided to push the single“I’m Only Joking” based on its performance on KWSS and 5FM. A DJ called Nerf heard something special in the song “Come With Me Now” and started playing it in it in Denver on KTCL-FM. The single received the biggest reaction for his station than ever seen before. “Come With Me Now” started the fastest climb up the Billboard Alternative Songs chart by an unknown artist since Evanescence did the same with “Bring Me To Life”. They had to set aside the new material they were working on in order to concentrate their efforts and capitalize on their platinum breakthrough. A lot of the material had already been written or was in the demo-ing process, due to the lag of success between South Africa and the United States.

 

The downside of the success of “Come With Me Now” is the high expectations for the band to deliver a smashing follow-up single. The life of the first single was extended due to the success that it experienced.

The brothers’ goal with their latest album was to turn fans of their hit single “Come With Me Now” into fans of the band as a whole. “Take It From Me” is the first single from the “Egomaniac” and it’s well on its way to become the band’s second hit single.

The Kongos care a lot about their sound production and they have invested a lot of money to upgrade their equipment instead of the studio. The band was determined to retain their stamp on their music, while still creating something new, unique and fresh.

The Kongos are currently on tour and they performed in Cape Town last night and they are performing at the Oppikoppi Festival tomorrow.

The Kongos are a unique band with a “flavour” of their own that sets them apart from the competition. If you want to explore your taste in music then this is the place to start.

Follow the band on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KONGOS

Follow Jesse Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseKONGOS

Follow Dylan Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DylanKONGOS

Follow Danny Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dannyKONGOS

Follow Johnny Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnnyKongos

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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Prime Circle Kirstenbosch Concert Review 10.01.2016

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I arrived to  a sold-out 6000 capacity crowd. It was heart-warming to see the support local music has gained. I have always wanted to watch Prime Circle at Kirstenbosch as I view it as their “home ground” of sorts.

Jono Grayson welcomed the crowd and played two songs. The crowd seemed enticed by Jono’s unassuming, humble nature. He has a charming voice and great potential if he continues to gain exposure and experience.

The Wintyr was up next and their music has an interesting ethereal vibe to it. It is a unique sound, especially for a South African band. I was really excited by the percussionist, the way he played took my breath away. You can view the band’s latest music video for their song “The Water” below.

It was time for Prime Circle to come on stage!

Prime Circle played their inspiring single “Doors”. They changed up their song “Out of this Place” accompanied by “Wild Lettuce” playing the australian didgeridoo, a really interesting take on a classic Prime Circle song.

View the performance here:

One of my favourite songs from the band’s “Let The Night In” album is “I Am”, a really upbeat and aggressive chorus interlaced by groovy verses. Their song “My City” was dedicated to Cape Town and I became really emotional seeing the massive crowd in front of me with bubbles floating through the air framed by the mountains in the background. The radio-friendly “Gone” and the romantic “Satellites” featured on the set list. “Blame It On Me” was performed by the band accompanied by an amazingly talented young lady, Jasmine Minter, who turned 16 years old on the day.

Watch a snippet of the performance here:

Her father Gavin Minter joined the band on percussion during a few songs. Dave Ferguson featured during a few songs and played the harmonica to perfection.

The band treated the crowd to a rare live performance of “My Inspiration” one of their albums off their debut album released in 2002. In my opinion this song shows off the strength in Ross’s voice.

View a few minutes of the performance:

Probably one of the most popular Prime Circle songs is the fiery “She Always Gets What She Wants” and it ALWAYS triggers a sing-along from the crowd. The band is gearing up for their first international release, which is well-deserved and a long-time coming. “She Always Gets What She Wants” will be the first single from the internationally released album and I hope it goes above and beyond what the song has achieved in South Africa.

“Consider Me” is a social and environmentally conscious song reminding us to be less selfish. “Time Kills Us All”, another crowd favourite and a truly ethereal experience. At the end of the set the crowd sang along to a lyric sheet and the band recorded the crowd singing.

The band accompanied by guest artists provided an exceptional evening of entertainment. Ross was in a lively mood and Dale was in beast mode on the drums, a treat to watch!

Follow Wild Lettuce on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WildLettuceZA

Follow Jono Grayson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JONOGRAYSON12

Follow Natasha Meister on Twitter: https://twitter.com/natashameister

Follow The Wintyr on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thewintyr

Follow Prime Circle on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Prime_Circle

Huge shout-out to Bizcommunity Lifestyle for the tickets!

Follow Bizcommunity Lounge on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Biz_Lounge

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

One Republic Cape Town Concert Review 21/06/2015

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In November of 2014 I purchased Golden Circle tickets for One Republic’s concert on the 21.06.2015. There was no real build-up to the concert, because I had purchased the tickets so long ago. I normally do some research before a show, so I didn’t know what to expect which can sometimes be a good thing.

Gangs of Ballet was the support act for One Republic’s South African tour. The band started their set at 08:00 and performed their live staples such as “Hello Sweet World”, “Don’t Let Me Go” and “House and Money”. Gangs of Ballet hail from Durban and the band consists of Brad Klynsmith (Vocals/Electric Guitar), Jono Rich (Keyboard) and Josh Klynsmith (drums). All three musicians have studied Music at University level. Their sound is difficult to attribute to one genre, but they experiment with an eclectic mix of alternative, melodic, anthemic, electronic and dance music. Their musical influences include; Coldplay, Radiohead, Muse, The Killers, Civil Twilight and Isochronous. The band delivered a passionate performance, but I struggled to hear some of the vocals which might be due to where I was standing in front of the speakers which was very LOUD at times much to my delight! I was pleased that the support act was a well-known and experienced band, because it demonstrates the talent that South Africa can produce.

At 09:00 it was One Republic who finally took to the stage or so we thought?? We were treated to the band’s shadows behind a white sheet which really amped up the anticipation. They opened with “Don’t Look Down” and went straight into “Light It Up” which was fitting.

As soon as the sheet came down the crowd went crazy and wholeheartedly sang along with “Secrets”.

The band went off stage for a few minutes when the on-screen choir started singing the intro to “All The Right Moves”. It was really remarkable the amount of variables evident on each song that One Republic produces and you only realise that once you see them play live. You tend to take it for granted when you are listening to their albums. Each band member is capable of playing four instruments or more depending on the demands of each song, additionally they use their hands as instruments as well. They slowed it down with the song “What You Wanted” and played a crowd favourite followed called “Stop and Stare”. The popular song “Something I Need” didn’t disappoint at all.

The band moved their set to the middle of the runway with a cool acoustic setting. Ryan introduced “Apologize” on the piano to a very receptive crowd. A real treat was when Ryan did a cover of George Ezra’s “Budapest” with a twist. The band went on to play “Preacher” a really emotional song which will ring true to a lot of people, I was surprised how much I liked this song when I first heard it while listening to “Native”. Next up was “Good Life” accompanied by imagery of the band and all their adventures during their world tour including the places that they visited. Among the shots were images of Cape Town which was a proud moment for all of us.

The band went off stage except Zach Filkins who stayed behind,  to treat us in playing witness to his extraordinary guitar skills with a Spanish guitar medley. It was jaw-dropping! The band re-entered to play “Counting Stars”, one of my favourite songs. They continued with “Can’t Stop”,  “Au Revoir”, “Feel Again” and the current hit “I Lived” a very emotional song layered with a catchy melody.

The encore started with the anthemic “Love Runs Out” during which Ryan came over to our side of the stage, looked me right in the eyes and took my hand, (*faints*) I don’t remember much after that 😀 .

[I have a ring on with red cross with blue background and he grabs my hand first, view below:]

Ryan took us by surprise when he did a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful Life”. The last song was Alesso’s remix of “I Lose Myself” during which the crowd was showered with confetti. I’m so glad that they decided to play the remixed version, because it took the energy of the crowd to another level. View the video of the performance here:

Ryan is a very energetic frontman affecting everyone around him and I was in awe of his exceptional vocal delivery which was on point the entire time!

I really appreciate the production that went into setting up the venue and the ambience of the show. I can understand why I paid the asking price, which is really important for the band(s) and production team to take into account. As a concert goer you NEVER want to feel ripped off. I had a fabulous time and I would love for the band return to South Africa ASAP.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Follow One Republic on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OneRepublic

Follow Gangs of Ballet on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GangsOfBallet

PS: Thank you to my fiance for all the photos and videos he took, so that I could just enjoy the show.

OneRepublic Setlist Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino, Cape Town, South Africa 2015, Native World Tour

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Me patiently waiting for the show to start!

Me patiently waiting for the show to start!

Top 14 Rock Songs of 2014

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2014 Highlights

2014 Highlights

So it’s that time of the year again where The Rock Riff choose the best rock songs of the year. I really like compiling the list of songs, because it is a nice way of reflecting on the year that has been. Last year I had difficulty choosing the last few entries on the list, but this year there was an abundance of choices. It was difficult to choose only 14 songs from the past year.

The list is as follows:

Number 14: Set Me On Fire – Flyleaf

Flyleaf has received some backlash regarding comparisons between the band’s ex-vocalist (Lacey Sturm) and current vocalist, Kristen May. This track proves that Kristen May is a very talented vocalist and I believe essentially the material is still representative of Flyleaf’s sound. Flyleaf’s latest album “Between The Stars” is a solid offering from the band.

Number 13: Painkiller – Three Days Grace

Another band who has had to replace their lead vocalist is Three Days Grace after Adam Gontier’s departure. No one could ever really replace Adam, but Matt Walst is a pretty decent replacement considering the success the band has experienced thus far. I had a difficult choice to make between “Painkiller” and “I Am Machine”. The band is still delivering hard-hitting material and they have not lost their momentum.

Number 12: Let The Night In – Prime Circle

I will probably never forget the moment that I heard this song live for the first time. It had a great impact on me and it was the opening track of the concert. Prime Circle hails from South Africa and has made a solid mark on the rock industry in their home country the past few years. Their latest album has a fresh feel to it and I think this song is the reason for the overall feel of the album.

Number 11: 1000hp – Godsmack

When Godsmack decides to do anything they go full-out. I really love the pace of this song and it really gets the adrenaline pumping! There are certain types of songs only this band can pull off properly and 1000hp is one of them.

Number 10: Would You Still Be There – Of Mice & Men

I was really pleasantly surprised by this song and video. Personally I’m not a fan of screaming, but this song combined both clean vocals by Aaron Pauley and screaming/unclean vocals by Austin Carlisle to a degree that I could really enjoy the song. I think this song proves that a band can be creative while still retaining credibility within the industry and with their fans.

Number 9: Words As Weapons – Seether

Seether seem to be one of the most consistent rock bands in recent history and they did not disappoint with their latest release “Isolate and Medicate”. Words As Weapons is an artistic take on deceit in our daily lives and it is one of those songs you will be humming along to in your head long after you have listened to it.

Number 8: Drown – Theory of a Deadman

Theory of a Deadman has really delivered a solid rock album with the release of “Savages” this year. The album offers a diverse range of songs that really proves that the band is not set in their ways. Production has improved and lyrically the content covers a vast array of topics.

Number 7: Heaven Knows – The Pretty Reckless

With a devil-may-care attitude Taylor Momsen serves up an in-your-face rock song with a chorus to match. Accompanied by a somewhat controversial music video, this band knows how to grab your attention. A stellar performance indeed.

Number 6: Dog on a Leash – Adelitas Way

A hard-hitting, edgy rock song, the first single from the band’s latest album “Stuck”. A visually appealing music video accompanied its release and Rick DeJesus vocals are spot-on as always.

Number 5: Million Miles An Hour – Nickelback

Nickelback has always been masters of storytelling and this song really takes the listener on a trip. 😉 The chord progression, guitars and drums combine to deliver a perfectly brewed rock song.

Number 4: Heart of Fire – Black Veil Brides

Believe it or not, but I only started listening or paying attention to this band this year. I was pleasantly surprised by the songs that I heard. The one that stood out to me, though is “Heart of Fire” the song has a really epic feel to it. The melody and chorus take it to another level. “Heart of Fire” would definitely fit in seamlessly on a movie soundtrack.

Number 3: F.E.A.R – Papa Roach

Papa Roach is back! F.E.A.R (Face Everything And Rise) is one of the singles released from their latest album of the same name. The production on this song is great and it delivers a good message in an aggressive manner which creates a unique contrast between the style of the song and it’s subject. The music video plays like a short film and it is fantastic, check it out below.

Number 2: Open My Eyes – Rival Sons

I had to feature this song, because it really took me by surprise this year. A friend mentioned the band on Facebook and I decided to give them a listen. This song was my favourite and it is a rare song to feature in today’s modern music industry. I really enjoyed listening to a different type of rock song. Scott Holiday’s guitar work is impeccable.

NUMBER 1: Avalon – Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators

When “Avalon” grabs you it doesn’t let go! From Slash’s latest album “World on Fire”, this is one of Myles’s stand-out performances on the album (and that is saying something). The fast-pace of this song is infectious. This song automatically puts you in a great mood…FACT!

Thank you for sharing the countdown with us and may 2015 be an even better year for rock music.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Thirty Seconds To Mars Cape Town Concert Review – 23/11/2014

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I purchased tickets for the concert on the 13th of December 2013. I was super excited about it, because I missed their last concert in Cape Town in 2010 and I was REALLY looking forward to it.

Fast forward to May 2014, when the band announced that they would have to postpone their tour due to medical reasons concerning one of the band members. I was devastated as I had put in leave especially for the concert and I had looked forward to it for so long. I had to wait until the 23rd of November 2014 to see them perform.

On the 21st of November 2014, 30 Seconds to Mars had a scheduled concert in Johannesburg. I found out over social media that Shannon Leto was not present, due to him taking ill. I was really disappointed, because I wanted to witness the chemistry between the band members on stage. The band consists of three members and it made the set-up lopsided if one band member was absent.

On Sunday the 23rd of November 2014 I started preparing for the concert, in a despondent mood. I was sad that Shannon wasn’t going to be there and I was feeling a little ill myself.

My sister and I arrived at the venue and we got a relatively good spot in the golden circle. I sat down waiting for Beatenberg to start their set. Beatenberg consists of Matthew Field (vocalist, guitar), Ross Dorkin (bass guitar) and Robin Brink (drums). The band started at 7:30 sharp, which was pleasant. They opened the set with their hit “Chelsea Blakemore” and continued to play some more songs from their debut album which included “Beauty Like A Tightened Bow”, “Rafael”, “Southern Suburbs” and “Cavendish Square”, closing their set with “Pluto”.

Beatenberg ended their set at 08:00 and then the wait began for the band we have all been waiting for. The lights went down, and the pulse-inducing opening sequence started. It took a few minutes before Tomo appeared and another minute or so before the enigmatic Jared Leto appeared with a crown adorning his captivating locks. My ears started buzzing from all the loud screams that filled the arena. I could barely breathe when Jared Leto appeared. For four years he only existed on my laptop screen, on a television screen or on the silver screen. If there is one thing that Jared Leto knows how to do is market himself. He had the audience in the palm of his hand for the entire show.

Anyone who has been to a concert and bought Golden Circle tickets knows that you have to take ownership of your spot on the floor or the other concert-goers might just take the chance to nab your spot which is located closer to the stage. During Jared Leto’s acoustic set he asked the audience to move closer to where he was standing at the walkway in front of the stage. At first everyone was indecisive, but when he insisted the audience obeyed. We moved closer to him and found ourselves in a better place than before.

It was fascinating the amount of interaction that Jared maintained with the audience throughout the show. The band released colourful balloons which reflects the artwork on their latest album cover and they floated around during the majority of the show, additionally streamers were blown into the air to the crowd’s delight.

The band’s opening song was “Up In The Air” and at first Jared’s voice sounded a bit sharp, but it warmed and softened more with the songs which followed. The crowd chanted along with “This Is War” and I loved their performance of “Conquistador” one of my favourite songs. Jared came up close and personal to the crowd during “Kings and Queens”, by the looks of where I was standing he seemed a bit nervous when the audience started tugging and pulling at him. The crowd bounced and danced through “Do or Die”. Jared gave a beautiful and touching performance of “City of Angels”. Things started heating up when he started to sing “End of all Days”. He pulled and tugged at his clothing suggestively to the delight of the female audience. Besides that distraction he delivered the vocals for the song perfectly.

The frontman then started his acoustic set singing a song which his grandfather used to sing to him called “Save Me”. The audience performed the intro for “Alibi” and Jared sang his heart out. The crowd were delighted when he went into a performance of “The Kill (Bury Me)”. During his acoustic set, the hormones of some ladies’ was at its peak. An indication of this, is the amount of suggestive and daring signs members of the crowd were holding up.

The mood turned romantic when the intro to “Bright Lights” started and everyone got their cellphones and lighters up.

After the song ended Jared started calling audience members up onto the stage, which obviously resulted in a lot of excitement. It was a great end to an amazing night and it went by so quickly.

After the show Jared and Tomo were signing Mars’ shirts and if you paid a fee, they would sign it for you. The queue for their signatures was insane! There were about 600 people if not more who got their merchandise signed. The wait wasn’t long though (no photos allowed) and concert-goers passed the time by chatting about the concert and thinking about what they were going to say to Jared when they got to the front. Most people fantasies’ were never realised as everyone went quiet when they saw him. 😀 I was one of those people, I was wracking my brain trying to think about what I was going to say. When I finally got to the front all I could manage was “Thank you, Tomo” and “Thank you, Jared”. Jared was busy signing when I spoke and he made a point to look up at me with those icy blue eyes and said “Thank you very, very much”. He hardly spoke to me, but the look on his face was one of endless gratitude for his fans and his lifestyle/career. My sister was waiting outside for me and was in a place where she could see Jared, she noticed that he made an effort to look up at each and every person when the alternative was to sign as fast as he could without looking up and finish up earlier.

I stand corrected, but from what I could tell and a few audience members would agree with me, but Thirty Seconds To Mars is the only international band to visit Cape Town thus far to take time out of their schedule to do a signing session.

I was sad that Shannon wasn’t there, but at the end of the night Jared and Tomo as well as the rest of the crew made up for it. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and I enjoyed every second of their concert. When they return I will fight tooth and nail to get a ticket if it comes to that.

Thank you to Thirty Seconds To Mars for making such an effort to come and perform for us as often as you can.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

 

Thirty Seconds to Mars Setlist GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World, Cape Town, South Africa 2014, Love Lust Faith + Dreams

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Beatenberg
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Me being stupidly happy.
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Prime Circle Concert Review @ GrandWest, Cape Town

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The band signing autographs at the merch stand.

The band signing autographs at the merch stand.

The stage, Grand West Arena.

The stage, Grand West Arena.

The stage at Grand West Arena.

The stage at Grand West Arena.

 

I haven’t been to a concert since I saw Nickelback last year in December and I was getting some serious concert withdrawal ;). I was so happy when the time came to go watch Prime Circle for the first time. I’m really sad that I haven’t had the opportunity to see them sooner, but I decided to let bygones be bygones. Prime Circle has become a South African staple over these past few years and they produce quality content time and again.

I had listened to snippets of their latest album on iTunes and watched a few videos to psyche me up for the show. I normally like to know every single song that will be played at a concert, but everything happens for a reason, so I bought the album before the show. I entered the arena and was surprised to see that the Golden Circle featured seats, this gave me the impression that it will be a more chilled/acoustic type of show.

Jesse Clegg performed as the support act and displayed some impressive guitar skills and entertained us with some acoustic songs. It was a pleasant surprise and really refreshing when Prime Circle opened their set straight after the support act. At previous concerts that I have attended the crowd had to wait 30-40 minutes for the main act to start playing.

The introduction was amazing, the band opened up with some amazing graphics displayed on an enormous screen. The stage design was really impressive and on par with international acts. The band kicked off with the title track off their latest album “Let The Night In”. From the get-go my belief that this will be a chilled show was shattered, which I was delighted to discover.

I speak under correction, but I believe the band treated us to each track on their latest album “Let The Night In”. The band combined that with some good old crowd-favourites like “Hello”, “As Long As I’m Here”, “Out of this Place”, “Breathing” etc.

I’m listening to their latest album as I write this and I feel like these earphones are definitely not doing it for me right now, compared to how deafeningly loud the band was on Saturday. My ears were still ringing on Sunday!! I was dancing and singing in my seat the entire night, it took all my strength not to get up and go crazy.

After a lengthy set, the band said their goodbyes and left the stage. The crowd inevitably wanted more and Ross Learmonth (vocalist) took to the stage alone to deliver an amazing rendition of their song “Batten Down The Hatches”, it was delivered with such sincerity that the crowd was captivated. The full band re-entered and things got REALLY loud from there on out. The band performed “She Always Gets What She Wants”, which Ross didn’t even really have to sing, because the crowd was doing it for him. They played “Consider Me”, Never Gonna Bring Us Down” and “I Am”.

My favourite songs off the album are “Let The Night In”, “I Am” and “Yeah”. I was amazed by the texture of Ross’s voice and I don’t know how he manages to sustain it. It really is something to behold. Dale Schnettler was really energetic behind his drum set, so much so that he put it out of commission for a few minutes. 😀 The rest of the band, really put in a solid performance and you could clearly see that they were enjoying every minute of it. My only regret was not being in the Golden Circle, but maybe next time. 😉

I’m so happy that I finally got to see the band in action and I can only hope it won’t be the last time!

You can follow the band on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Prime_Circle

You can follow the band members’ personal accounts here: https://twitter.com/RossLearmonth

https://twitter.com/NeilBreytenbach

https://twitter.com/DaleSchnettler

https://twitter.com/Marco_S_Gomes

https://twitter.com/dirkbisschoff

I was so lucky to get my album autographed by each band member and I was reluctant to ask for photos, so my fiance did it for me, I’m really happy he did.

This image is the property of The Rock Riff.

This image is the property of The Rock Riff.

This image is the property of The Rock Riff.

This image is the property of The Rock Riff.

This image is the property of The Rock Riff.

This image is the property of The Rock Riff.

Check out The Rock Riff’s Band of the Month series ft Prime Circle: https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/band-of-the-month-prime-circle/

Thank you for reading.

Rock Regards,

 

Lauren K

 

Band of the Month – Seether

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You can follow The Rock Riff on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TheRockRiff

Seether- Shaun Morgan by JaredWingate Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether- Shaun Morgan
by JaredWingate
Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether is a post grunge/alternative metal band hailing from my country of birth, South Africa. They were founded in 1999 in Pretoria. Seether consists of Shaun Morgan (lead guitar, vocals), Dale Stewart (bass guitarist) and John Humphrey (drums).

The band got the chance to be a part of Ozzfest and released an EP before unveiling their full-length debut album (“Disclaimer”) in August of  2002. “Disclaimer” featured the single “Fine Again”. A great deal of pre-production took place in South Africa under the supervision of a Wind-Up representative, it continued in New York before the recording sessions took place in Los Angeles. The band began extensive touring in promotion of Disclaimer in July 2002. They performed alongside the likes of Our Lady Peace into the following year.Initially the band emerged with the name Saron Gas (a name taken from the back of a sound effects CD) and they released their debut album called “Fragile” on Musketeer Records. South Africa’s musical tastes are centered around pop, dance and mainstream music. Despite this fact Fragile found impressive chart success, making US-based record label Wind-Up Records sit up and take notice. They signed the South African band mates who changed their name to Seether. Saron Gas was too similar to the lethal nerve agent sarin gas.

A planned follow-up to their first album was delayed by almost a year when Seether was chosen as the support act for Evanescence’s worldwide tour. During this time a romance started to blossom between lead singer of Seether, Shaun Morgan and lead singer of Evanescence, Amy Lee. The tour ensured Seether’s commercial success, but delayed the band’s return to the recording studio. The band reworked their acoustic ballad “Broken” to an electric ballad with guest vocals by Amy Lee. “Broken” along with a new song entitled “Sold Me” featured on the soundtrack of 2004’s movie “The Punisher”.

An alternate version of the original album entitled Disclaimer II was released on the 15th of June 2004, with some songs remixed and reworked, with an extra eight new tracks (in the US).  The major reason for the reworking of Disclaimer was the popularity that the song “Broken” achieved after its release. Seether viewed the album as an opportunity to re-evaluate their debut’s release (whose mix was, according to the band, sub par) and provided fans with material to serve as a holdover until the band’s proper follow-up album.

The band’s follow-up album “Karma and Effect” was released on the 24th of May 2005.  It is certified gold in the US and Canada. Originally titled Catering to Cowards, the name was changed at the record label’s demand. The album debuted at number 8 on the US Billboard 200 album charts. It spawned three singles; “Remedy”, “Truth” and “The Gift”. “Remedy” reached number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock Charts, Seether’s first number 1 hit.

Seether released an acoustic CD/DVD set, “One Cold Night” on the 11th of July 2006. Shaun Morgan had suffered from a stomach ailment and decided to do an acoustic set instead of cancelling the show. The concert was recorded in Grape Street, Philadelphia. The record label wanted to exclude any obscenities from the album and that explains why “Needles” and “Burrito” do not feature on the album.

Lead guitarist Patrick Callahan‘s departure was announced  on the 16th of June 2006, an explanation was not provided. Patrick apparently didn’t enjoy Seether’s new music.

In August of 2006, Shaun Morgan entered a rehab program for alcoholism, which forced the band to cancel their tour with Staind and Three Days Grace.

The day that Evanescence released their single “Call Me When You’re Sober” on radio, it was announced that Shaun Morgan was entering rehab. Amy Lee confirmed that the song was inspired by her ex-boyfriend and that the song had become somewhat of a chick anthem. The track leaked to radio on the 30th of July 2006, causing several radio stations to play it early without it being released as a single.

Shaun didn’t want to “lower” himself to Lee’s level, therefore he didn’t really want to react to the song, but stated that he was upset that she had said “those” things. Upon the release of Seether’s 2007 album release “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”, Shaun knew everyone would be looking for an Amy Lee reference on the album. He was desperate not to have one, but did mention that the song “Breakdown” , he considered a lament and not an angry backlash. He further states that the song isn’t about one person, its more universal, vague and respectful.

“Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces” was originally planned for an August release that was delayed until the 23rd of October 2007 due to the suicide of Shaun’s brother Eugene Welgemoed. The album debuted at number 9 in the Billboard 200 album charts and sold 57,000 copies in its first week. The first single off the album “Fake It” reached number 1 of US Mainstream Rock Charts and Modern Rock Charts,  the song held that spot for at least 9 weeks on both charts. “Rise Above This” was written in memory of Shaun’s brother, Eugene. The last single from the album “Breakdown” won Seether their first South African Music Award in the “Best Rock: English” category. The song won them their first MTV Africa Music Award for “Best Alternative Artist”.

A tour in support of the album lasted for most of the year 2008. Troy McLawhorn previously a member of bands such as Dark New Day, Evanescence, Sevendust and doubleDrive was hired as a touring guitarist on the 15th of February 2008. During the tour Seether shared the stage with bands such as Three Days Grace, 3 Doors Down, Skillet, Breaking Benjamin and Red to name a few. After the tour Troy was named as an official member of the band. A cover of Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” was made available for purchase as a digital or mobile download. The music video for the song was released on the 15th of June 2009 and the song is included as an extra track on the reissue of the album “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”.

Seether supported Nickelback during March and April of 2009 and it was confirmed by Dale and Shaun that after the Nickelback tour the band would take the rest of the year off from touring to concentrate on recording new content for their upcoming album. Nevertheless the band made their appearances at select shows and festivals.

The band spent several months recording in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Brendan ‘O Brien. Recording was completed in August and the album went into the mixing process. The album was completed in September and “Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray” was released on the 17th of May 2011. Seether reached their highest place on the US Billboard 200 Chart when the album reached the number 2 slot. Billboard named Seether the No. 1 Active and No. 1 Heritage Rock Artist of 2011. Troy McLawhorn left Seether and returned to Evanescence in March 2012.

Seether played the main stage on the Uproar Festival alongside bands, Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Bullet for my Valentine and Escape the Fate. Seether supported 3 Doors Down on their European tour which started in November and lasted till March the following year.

A compilation album titled “Seether 2002-2013” was released on the 23rd of October 2013. It was released as a double-disc album featuring their greatest hits, unreleased demos, soundtrack songs and 3 all-new tracks including a cover of Veruca Salt’s song “Seether” where the band got their name from. Seether carried out a small, semi-acoustic tour of Europe and South Africa. I had the privilege to attend one of these shows and you can read my review of the concert here:

https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/an-intimate-evening-with-seether-kirstenbosch-gardens-parklife-festival-review/

On the 31st of January 2014, Seether posted a video on their YouTube account in which Shaun Morgan stated that the new album is well underway and recording should be completed within a week’s time from the date the video was recorded. In April 2014 the band posted teasers of the album on apps Snapchat and Instagram. Teasers of two of the songs off the new album was posted on YouTube namely; “Words As Weapons” and “My Disaster”. Later on more song clips were teased on the band’s official Instagram account. In late April 2014, it was announced that the new album titled “Isolate and Medicate” was set to be released on the 1st of July 2014. “Words As Weapons” was the first single to be released on the 1st of May 2014. On the 29th of April 2014, the band’s long-time guitar tech, Bryan Wickmann and former Art Director of Schecter Guitar Research was announced as Seether’s new touring guitarist.

Seether has been present in my life, since I can remember. I remember hearing “Fine Again”, mesmerized by the melancholy nature of the song. I really identified with that song at that stage of my life. After having the privilege to see the band perform in November 2013, I was blown away by Shaun Morgan’s vocals. Its like you can hear his whole life story just by listening to his voice. It doesn’t matter how dark the song is, the band delivers the material with a flair which is unmatched. Seether does not like to conform to anyone’s rules, they play by their own. This is a trait which is admirable considering the power that record labels have at their disposal. Seether has proved what determination, ambition, drive and talent can amount to if you make it count.

You can follow the band on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SeetherOfficial

The band recently released their creative video for their latest single “Words As Weapons”. Watch it below:

While promoting their latest album release “Isolate and Medicate” the band stopped by Loudwire’s studios to perform a few songs. Watch them perform the acoustic version of 2004’s hit “Broken”.

Seether by CatCleopatra Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by CatCleopatra
Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS
Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza