It’s not hard to like The Metro Theatre. True the corporate sponsorship sometimes drowns out the rough and tumble rock venue atmosphere, but what the Metro can claim is a mood akin to a dirty, grungy pub, albeit on a larger scale.

Swelling among the venue’s insides was a various array of late-20s and 30-somethings, many of which compelled to explain in slurred words that “you’re missing out man. Music nowadays is shit compared to when I was in uni.”  One would have missed out on a heck of a show though, had they not seen Cheap Fakes and The Black Seeds.

Cheap Fakes are a band that professional musos would cream over. Technically brilliant, this five-piece had a real sexy swagger – all Zoot-suited and Converse-footed. For a warm-up act, they transformed a rather lukewarm audience into a bubbling sauce-0pot of a crowd. Their set was masterful, possessing dynamically intrinsic song structures, danceable drum beats and punchy bass lines.

Trumpeter Scotty Bignell brought effortlessly energetic solos and Joshua Appleby pulled the saxophone with some guttural growls, upping the bright, piercing clarity. Vocalist Hayden Andrews has a lovely voice full of warmth and clarity, while bassist James Watson could not stop from jumping. You can’t help but grin from ear to ear, Cheap Fakes know how to bring the funk.

The Black Seeds arrived on a sunny soundtrack of reggae. The ragtag crew, on the steps of their recent album Dust And Dirt, seem to eclipse the murky imagery of their album title. One song in and already like masterful puppeteers they pulled and pushed the audience ’til they became a wave of dancers. The New Zealanders also have a level of no frills about them, which has to be admired. They are all about the music, and its wonderful how interesting it is.

Although you could easily describe them as reggae, the dub elements of this group stand out, especially in their guitar tones and the effects they place on the horn section. They blend many different feels and textures to create some really unique arrangements. Vocalist and guitarist Barnaby Weir has a type of energy that doesn’t need to be in your face – just a simple charisma that pulsates. The vocals were strong and clear, the beats pounding and strong.

The bright punchy cocktail of the Black Seeds must be consumed fresh and with a dancing partner.

– Patrick Weyland-Smith