The Black Seeds @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, 7/16/10


Three years ago, I went to New Zealand to “study” abroad. I took “courses” in Nightlife, Road-tripping, and Culture. My final exams included a 43-meter (141 ft.) bungy off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, beers with Scarfies down in Dunedin, and screaming my war-painted face off during the All Blacks pre-game haka in Auckland. When I left the Land of the Long White Cloud, almost everything was checked off of my Aotearoa bucket list…almost.

By the time my kiwi mates plugged me into the scene, I was too late to catch a concert byThe Black Seeds, one of the South Pacific’s most successful bands, blending big-beat funk, dub, soul, afro-beat, and roots-reggae. I returned to the States with their album Into the Dojo stuck in my head and a longing for more.

Good things come to those who wait and, on July 16, 2010, goodness spread throughout the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. “Kia ora, New York!” exclaimed lead singer, Barnaby Weir, as he raised a guitar strap overhead. Tuned and settled, The Black Seeds set the stage with “Fire,” a potent extension of funky horns and deep beats spun from their popular third album, On the Sun (2004). Then summer heat made room for the cool grooves of island-inspired tracks like “Make a Move” and “Come to Me” (off their 2009 North America release, Solid Ground) sending the crowd into a collective rise-and-fall. Fueled by The Black Seeds full-bodied stage presence, New Yorkers happily traded city-slick for island-ease.

Reflective of The Black Seeds’ collective taste and individual contributions, audience members relished buttery vocals by Weir bolstered by Jabin Ward’s bombastic sax, and gripping guitar solos by Mike Fabulous powered by the resonant percussion and vocals by Daniel Weetman. By the end of “Heavy Mono E,” a full house shouted for an an encore but just as the band was about to deliver the goods, Music Hall cut the supply. The hungry audience shouted for more, asking the band to “Come Back!” With grace and gratitude, Weir thanked the audience for a great show and the band began packing up under the house lights. Could five more minutes have been spared for a band coming from so far away? Maybe I’m too partial of a judge. Nevertheless, the crowd seemed to bond over a great show gone too soon.

For one night, New Yorkers finally felt the synergistic appeal of what it truly means to be from an island: Love really is a radiation. NY’s appreciation for NZ’s finest is a seed now in full bloom.

Check out the band’s website for a FREE Summer Sampler here.

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  1. Caught Chromeo in Philly last Tues; Gato Barbieri @ BB King’s on Thurs; catching Keith Sweat @ BB King’s this Fri; and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings @ Prospect Park on Sat. Whew! What about you? Which shows?


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