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Band celebrates 21st anniversary with UK tour
With a small stage and a main room that holds just 420 people, it will be quite a squeeze for both performers and audience at Birmingham's Glee Club for the visit of The Black Seeds on August 13. The New Zealand reggae band boasts eight members who perform with a variety of instruments, including guitar, saxophone, trumpet, bass, drums, bongos, keyboard and woodblock.
Bigger stage?: The Black Seeds (Pic: David James)
Currently celebrating their 21st anniversary, The Black Seeds are revered stalwarts of the touring and festival circuit in their homeland, while abroad they have remained at the forefront of New Zealand's roots movement, alongside the likes of Fat Freddy's Drop.
Their sound is grounded in the bass-heavy island grooves that inspired the birth of the group in 1998, although band members Barnaby Weir, Daniel Weetman, Jarney Murphy, Nigel Patterson, Ned Ngatae, Francis Harawira, Barrett Hocking and Matthew Benton now cast a wide musical net, incorporating elements of funk, soul and Afrobeat into their characteristic brand of reggae/dub.
Live: The Black Seeds
With six studio albums under their belt, including 2017's Fabric, they are touring Europe for the first time since 2013. Their Birmingham date is preceded on August 12 with a show at Edinburgh's Liquid Room. The UK leg of the tour concludes at the sold-out Beautiful Days Festival at Escot Park, Devon, on August 17. To mark the tour a six-track EP has been issued. Refabricated: Fabric Remixes & Rarities features three new, unreleased tracks from the Fabric album sessions and re-workings by the likes of DJ Mu (Fat Freddy's Drop), MC Gardna, Israel Starr and Deep Fried Dub.
The band's debut album, Keep on Pushing, was released in 2001 but it wasn't until 2007, with the release of third album, Into The Dojo, that they became known worldwide. They were described by Clash magazine as "one of the best live reggae acts on the planet," and they provide a party atmosphere wherever they play. Let's hope the stages are big enough!
The Black Seeds 2019 UK tour dates:
August 12: Liquid Room, Edinburgh; August 13: Glee Club, Birmingham; August 14: The Fleece, Bristol; August 15: The Electric Ballroom, London; August 16: The Watering Hole, Perranporth; August 17: Beautiful Days Festival, Escot Park, Devon.