SEETHER / SHAMAN’S HARVEST / THE DEAD DEADS – Starland Ballroom, NJ – 11/29/17
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Seether’s “Poison the Parish” Tour rolled into the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey on November 29, 2017 with Shaman’s Harvest and The Dead Deads in tow. Seether is touring in support of their newest album “Poison the Parish” that was released on May 12, 2017. Shaman’s Harvest is touring on their latest “Red Hands Black Deeds”, which was released on July 28, 2017. Last but not least are The Dead Deads who are touring in support of their second full-length album “For Your Obliteration” released on August 26, 2016 and their newest EP “Flying Saucers” released on July 4, 2017.
THE DEAD DEADS
The Dead Deads are a quartet based out of Nashville, TN who celebrated their 3-year anniversary this past March. The current lineup includes Meta Dead (Leticia Wolf) (lead vocals/guitar), Daisy Dead (Mavis Turner) (vocals/bass), and new additions Dolly Dead (Jonathan Jircitano) (vocals/guitar) and Johnnie Dead (Tosha Jones) (drums).
Many of The Dead Deads songs are based off of concepts of outer space, hence the alien army that graces that stage with them every night. My first Dead Deads experience was in November of 2014 while they were on their first ever, national tour with Halestorm. I attended 4 shows in a row over Thanksgiving and it didn’t take long to fall in love with this band. The Dead Deads weren’t your average rock band back then, and over the last 3 years they have developed a unique rock/grunge/metal sound that sucks you in. I’ve had the privilege to see this band over a dozen times and have become friends with the members. To see how far they have come in a relatively short time span is incredible.
The Dead Deads remain hometown favorites still playing club shows in Nashville and Chattanooga, TN. This is between the awesome tours that they have done as well as Shiprocked and Motorhead’s Motorboat. They have toured with Bush, P.O.D., a few dates with Alterbridge, Skid Row and Stone Sour. I met Stone Sour’s, Corey Taylor over the summer and we spoke about The Dead Deads and how much he loved them. I guess this was a true statement since a winter tour was just announced with Stone Sour, Halestorm and The Dead Deads.
The Dead Deads opened up their Starland show with “Nothing Will Be Fine” from their “Flying Saucers” EP. Meta Dead wrote this song right after the 2016 Presidential Election. This song starts off with a really cool bass riff and a drum beat straight out of a drum line. Then Meta’s vocals come in; her vocals are smooth and soft but with major conviction on this track. Next up a brand new unreleased song named “Ghosts”. This is a hard hitting rock track that also has a super cool baseline. Johnnie Dead on drums is one of the hardest hitting, animated drummers that I have seen. She’s an incredible addition to the bands lineup.
Meta features some metal laden vocals on this track that rival the best in the business. “Ghosts” is sure to become a Dead Corps (Dead Deads fan base) favorite. To my excitement “Fresh Kicks” was up next, this song is more of a pop/rock blend that would do very well on top 40 radio. One word of advice, if you listen to this track while driving, watch your speed limit. “Sympathy Sex” was next, it is a very trippy song that goes from a very melodic vocal with clean lead guitar work from Dolly to thrash metal and back again. Their 30-minute set was packed with a range of songs including “Space”, “Blackout”, and “Animals”. They closed out the show with “Nope” off of their debut album “Rainbeau”. This track features monster drums from Johnnie and demonic vocals by Meta. This song definitely left the audience wanting more. If you don’t get the chance to see them out on one of their national tour dates they are definitely worth the trip to Nashville to see them.
Shaman’s Harvest are the good ole boys from Jefferson City, Missouri. The band was started by Nathan “Drake” Hunt (vocals), Matt Fisher (bass) and Josh Hamler (guitar) in 1996. They have had several guitarists and drummers in and out of the mix over the years, Derrick Shipp (lead guitar) and Adam Zamanek (drums) round out their current lineup. Their first album “Last Call to Goose Creek” was released in 1999. One of their biggest hits “Dragonfly” was off of their 2009 release “Shine”, it hit #16 on Billboard’s Active Rock Chart and appeared on the soundtrack of the motion picture “Legendary”. I was a late comer to the Shaman’s Harvest band wagon. It was their song “Dangerous” from their 2014 release “Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns” made me fall for them. There was something different about Nathan’s voice that was mesmerizing. Shaman’s Harvest is southern infused rock band with the soul of James Brown. I am definitely sorry I did not know about them sooner.
Shaman’s Harvest opened their set with “Dangerous”. They started out with a few technical sound issues but quickly worked through them. As far as a live band they are amazing. I think they blow their recordings away. Their second song was “Broken Ones” off their current release “Red Hands Black Deeds”. This song is a bass driven and guitar riff heavy song with Nathan’s vocals being on his lower range. They followed up with “The Devil in Our Wake”, also off the current release. This song starts of slow and almost hauntingly until the drums give way and the highly distorted guitars come in. This song is best enjoyed with one fist in the air and a cold beer in the other. The music for this song is laid back and in the pocket.
Derrick’s licks on this song are awesome, he spent much of the set off to the side and out of the spotlight but he did move to the edge of the stage for part of this one. They played their cover of “Dirty Diana” which was awesome. This is a hard song to cover and many have failed but their version is just enough of the original mixed with their style to sound authentic and not like a copy. One of my favorites of the night was “The Come Up” also off their latest release. This song has a ton of energy and starts off with major snare drum, then the guitars and vocals come in. The song makes you want to bounce, it has an incredible hook. The crowd was definitely into this one. They also played “Country as Fuck”, “Sole Crusher”, “In Chains” and closed out with their hit “Dragonfly”.
Shaman’s Harvest is what I would call southern rock relaunched. Nathan’s vocals are probably the best southern rock vocals in the last decade. They aren’t necessarily doing anything new, they are just doing it well. If you are a late comer like myself; welcome to the party.
Seether, one of my first loves in modern rock. Hailing from Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, Seether was started in 1999 under the name Saron Gas. When they made the move to the U.S. in 2002 they changed their name to Seether so they wouldn’t be confused with the poisonous chemical Sarin gas. Seether consists of Shaun Morgan (vocals/guitar), Dale Stewart (bass) and John Humphrey (drums). Seether’s first mainstream release was “Disclaimer” that spawned their first hit, “Fine Again”. Other hits from that album include “Driven Under” and “Gasoline”. In 2004 the band released “Disclaimer II” that was filled with reworked tracks including an updated version of their song “Broken” featuring Amy Lee from Evanescence. This version of the song had an extreme amount of radio airplay and can still be heard hitting the airwaves from time to time. They released “Karma and Effect” in 2005, which gave them their first number one hit for “Remedy”.
Seether opened up their set ironically with their first hit “Gasoline”. The song opens up with Shaun’s signature distorted guitar chugging. He has a very distinct guitar tone that is unlike anyone else. If you know anything about Seether you will know it’s their song from the first note. Shaun also has a very distinct voice. Many newer rock bands have similar vocal stylings but Shaun is unique. His voice is considered monotone by some but that’s what makes him special as an artist. His voice while powering out monster rock songs is actually quite soothing. Their second song of the night was “Needles” also one of their earlier tracks. This song is very drum driven and John Humphrey takes the spotlight, while Shaun and Dale tend to be hidden in the shadows on stage. He’s an amazing drummer, who along with Dale Stewart holds down a really tight rhythm section. Next on tap was “Truth” from “Karma and Effect”. This song starts off in their usual manner, clean vocals and clean guitar, then goes into a hard rock riff with rough vocals.
Shaun lost his brother Eugene to suicide in 2007, the song “Rise Above This” was written for him and appeared on their 2007 release “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”. This song is super emotional and definitely got the crowd going. They were all jumping, metal horns up and moshing in the crowd. Shaun’s lyrics address mental health in several songs that they performed this evening including; “Save Today”, “Fine Again” and “Words as Weapons”. He is a big advocate for suicide awareness and mental health. He has a yearly festival aptly named Rise Above Fest that raises money for suicide prevention.
They played a 90-minute, 15-song set that was full of energy, emotion and hits including “Broken”, “Fake It” and “Remedy”. The entire band left everything they had out on the stage and the fans reciprocated. They are not your typical rock band in style or persona but they are a great live band, they aren’t flashy and don’t rely on anything but their talent to put on a show. This is a great tour package that has newcomers and bands that have been out there for nearly 2 decades. This leg of the tour goes until December 20th, catch them while you can.