The Otherwise and Shaun Morgan Surpriseby Nathan Zeno / 08.06.2009
I must admit, I have a kind of fascination with The Otherwise. When I’ve seen them live I haven’t really liked them, but when I see brothers Harry and Greg at the bar, I get on with them immensely. The prospect of seeing the two front men play unplugged was beyond tempting, sicne unplugged sets are often a true test of the songs and the performers’ personalities.
The Otherwise arrived at Burn late, a little drunk from another gig, and seemed to stumble a little as they started. But their easy personalities and seeming surprise at finding themselves surrounded by a large and eager crowd was a very cool combination. And they rocked. Sure they forgot some of the words, but they laughed these little glitches off in a self-deprecating way. Something about sitting down seems to strip Greg of that not-quite-there-ness he exhibits when he’s in full band mode. Harry proved himself to be an excellent guitarist and while song-wise a lot of the material is a blur to me, I came away with a general feeling of contentment. The Otherwise unplugged are as cool as musicians as they are as people. If only I could feel that way about the full band. Give me (or them) time.
As the set ended, I (in appreciation) lightly heckled them and was pounced upon by a rabid fan, who proclaimed: “If you think you can do better, then why don’t you step up there and try”. That kind of devotion is very cute. I wanted to pat him on the head. I think I did. It’s no surprise The Otherwise have fans: they’re easygoing and have an emo enough stage-presence. Their over reliance on Kedis type stylings does throw them a little off kilter sometimes, evidenced in the slavish rendition of ‘Under The Bridge.’ But, here, watching them be solid musicians, stripped of having to perform, it became obvious that they have many possibilities ahead of them.
The last I saw of Harry and Greg, they were talking to their bassist, London. Some other guy was standing near them, they were looking at him in awe. Me – I didn’t recognise him. But as I left I heard someone saying, “Shaun Morgan is here”. I had no idea who Shaun Morgan was, so I left. The next morning when I heard the lead singer of Seether played an impromptu unplugged set, I was a little disappointed. It’s not that I like Seether, but I would have liked to see Morgan unplugged – to see how he copes as a musician without a full band.
So I asked Caitlin London Kerr (bassist for The Otherwise) for her rendition:
“The crowd was loving the vibe, already saying what a good night it had been, but The Otherwise had a little surprise to make it even better…At a gig they played with Stealing Love Jones earlier that evening, the guys from The Otherwise were introduced to none other than Shaun Morgan, who was keen to carry on the party with them at Burn. There was much excitement as the news spread that the Seether frontman had arrived at the club. But when he unexpectedly jumped up on stage with a guitar, no one could believe their luck. There wasn’t a single person who didn’t stop what they were doing to watch the homegrown rock hero perform, and perform he did.”
“The crowd was treated to all the old favourites, all the new favourites, and even more. Song after song, Shaun rocked the crowd and sang his heart out. The audience couldn’t get enough, singing along and trying to push their way closer to the action. Those that couldn’t squeeze to the front were standing on the benches to get a look, cameras out, making the most of this once in a lifetime experience. And who could blame them? It’s not every day one of the biggest rock musicians of our time pops into your local club, and not only plays an amazing surprise set, but then gets down and parties with everyone too!”
Adds photographer Kevin Goss-Ross: “Afterwards he hung out with the small crowd, getting photos taken and enjoying the perfect weather. It was a chilled out acoustic evening at Burn. Which is all it was. And it was perfect.”
*All images: ©Kevin Goss-Ross