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Thursday at the Harbor became a headbanger's ball this week, welcoming South African hard rockers Seether with the largest crowd to gather in the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf so far this summer.

The two local opening sets displayed different methods in warming up the stage. Power-chord. funk-rock quartet Breakerbox, led by the duo of ferocious vocalist Christina DeNee' and drummer/ producer Scott Calandra, and featuring guitarist Joe Pinnavaia and bassist Zuri "Pedigree of Funk" Appleby, offered big chart-seeking hooks and classic crowd calls, from the standard "Make Some Noise!" to multiple drops of a funky beat—when a band associate emerged with a box of T-shirts while Reilly sang "T-Shirt Time" and goaded the crowd to give it up for the goods.

The band actually was so into this segment that it cost them a final song, running over their allotted time and thus making "T-Shirt Time" their closing number. Still, since free is most folks' favorite number, the shamelessly commercial stunt helped hype the sizable early-bird crowd, which the band won over well.

And now for something completely different: punk quartet the Chosen Ones chose to goad the crowd toward the tried-and-true tension- reliever of moshing, and, to a decent degree, it worked.

A relatively tame circle formed near the stage that will serve for many to mark the memory, "I remember my first mosh pit." Not that the band isn't completely able to fuel the circle in a more suitable setting — it regularly plays local clubs, including Mohawk Place and Town Ballroom.

Again, we're dealing with the masses at a free show here, giving the younger and more passive crowd a taste of the aggressive. While obviously melody and lyrics aren't the foremost motivation for the mosh pit set to move, Chosen Ones' closer of "Too Far Gone" revealed a depth to the approach of Ruben Lipkind (bass/vocals), twin slingers Benny Bailey and Neal Brodfuehrer (guitar/ vocals) and Chris Gajewski (drums).

"Too Far Gone" was dedicated by Lipkind with a clearly heavy heart to war veterans injured and lost. Sufficiently stirred for the military-savvy veterans of multiple USO tours, the packed Harbor became a headbanger's ball, with Seether's opening salvo of "Fur Cue," the opening cut from their fifth and latest album.

Guitarist/vocalist Shaun Morgan mixed melody and primal scream with equal mastery in "Gasoline," as bassist Dale Stewart slid up and down his fretboard and drummer John Humphrey drove home the big bounce of the opener from their breakout 2002 album Disclaimer.

The somber ebb and flow of 2002 hit "Fine Again" further revealed Morgan's monstrous soar-scream ability, as well as his handle on pulling the cart of the lone guitarist, as the band that has had second guitarists over the years showed no slowed step as a trio.

Nor did Morgan need Evanescence singer Amy Lee on the 2004 hit ballad "Broken," on which she was had guested. The crowd roared upon hearing the first notes from Stewart, who sat at a prepared stand with a toned-down six-string, the roar inspiring an ear-to-ear grin from Morgan as he gazed upon the crowd.

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Thursday at the Harbor with Seether

WHEN: Thursday evening

WHERE: Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf