New Zealand’s The Black Seeds kick off their third North American tour tonight at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre. The expansive reggae octet is blazing across the U.S. and Canada in April supporting their seventh long-player, Dust and Dirt, due Tuesday, April 10, from Easy Star Records.
Following a nearly two-year watershed, Dust and Dirt displays an avant reggae infused with ’70s east coast soul, jazz-funk, garage rock, Talkin’ Loud acid jazz and trip hop. “I really enjoy the songs on this album and the different approaches we took in the writing process,” The Black Seeds’ Daniel Weetman explains to The Examiner. “I enjoy all the different colours on this album, and there is a good balance of light and shade.
In the early years we wanted The Black Seeds to emulate some of the King Tubby dubs, the beautiful songs that Horace Andy has delivered, and learn along the way just what makes a great reggae tune, the subtleties of reggae and dub. On the new album there are classic reggae sounding tunes,” The Black Seeds’ vocalist/percussionist declares, “but then there’s a more modern approach to reggae,” an approached nourished by the work of artists as afield as Burning Spear, Sly & The Family Stone, African Headcharge, Trent Reznor and Tool.
“We’re looking forward to seeing more of the U.S.,” Mr. Weetman confesses in the pre-dawn hours of a tour that will take The Black Seeds across the continent, then to Europe, Australia and home to New Zealand before the summer solstice. “There will be a hell of a lot of touring this year,” he further confides. Preparing for the premiere show in Los Angeles, Mr. Weetman warmly effuses, “I think The Black Seeds’ music is really suited to the California coast, where you have the likes of surfing, beach, good weather…. It’s very similar to New Zealand. And I really enjoy U.S. audiences overall: they are straight up and they tell you what they think about you. There’s no casuistry involved. But when you bring the truth to a live show and you are proud of the music, it can only be a powerful performance on the night.”
Southern California audeinces will be able to experience The Black Seeds’ power, their light and shade, their dust and dirt, tonight at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre (8pm / $17-$20), Friday night at Winstons in San Diego (9pm / $15), and Saturday night at Santa Barbara’s Soho (8pm / $14 in advance).