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August 2, 2010 | by  | in Music |
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Seth Frightening


The announcement that Seth Frightening would be opening for Jonsi Birgisson—of acclaimed Icelandic act Sigur Ros—on the Australian leg of his upcoming world tour came as a pleasant surprise to Wellingtonians who have grown fond of Sean ‘Seth Frightening’ Kelly’s melancholic brand of indie folk. So it was with much anticipation that a healthy cluster of warmly clad hipsters descended on Happy for a reorientation VBC showcase—standing on chairs, even sitting on the bar—for a final intimate glimpse of the humble and über-talented minstrel before he jets off to perform to larger, more intimidating audiences.

Moments into opener ‘Can We Eat It (Truth) So We Know What To Say (Visions)’—also the opener on his debut album, The Prince and His Madness—Kelly’s eyes were closed, his face strained as if in a trance as his charming vocals filled the venue. Unafraid to explore the entire spectrum of his vocal range in what is becoming an increasingly diverse live set, Kelly startled viewers with explosive, Sung Tongs-esque shrieks that shatter his customary fragile wail.

Accompanied by two backing guitarists rather than the usual one, Kelly’s emotionally charged lyrics took on a heavier, almost grungier feel (perhaps an influence of his recent ‘metal’ side project, Cancer). Not only was ‘Selfish’ played at fiercer pace than before, but it was also driven by layers of distorted sound, giving the lyrics a darker, almost sinister resonance. Yet it remains Kelly’s near angelic voice and his poignant, crestfallen lyrics that linger in your head long after listening that is winning over audiences and tour promoters alike. An entertaining and emotionally charged final performance then, we can only hope for more of the same upon his return.

Earlier in the evening acoustic two-piece Ogliocene Drowning, the band of Kelly’s younger brother, charmed early attendees with their wide-eyed, fresh-faced enthusiasm and homespun minimalist folk. Driven by a lively beat, garage-punk three-piece ‘Mammal Airlines’ roused a merry cluster of groupies into a lively jig. The ever-idiosyncratic Alex Wilson, performing under the pseudonym of ‘Ocelot’, entertained too, with distorted chanting and singing over trippy spaced-out psychedelic beats.

Seth Frightening
Live at Happy, with Ocelot, Mammal Airlines and Ogliocene Drowning—Friday 16th July

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Comments (3)

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  1. Rachel says:

    Chur, Tim.

  2. Ash Hurst says:

    Tim A Rufus, you scoundrel. I’m watching you.

  3. Squeak says:

    *Oligocene Drowning

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