Gig of the week: House of Shem


Two generations play under one roof at the House of Shem – but Dad calls the shots.

The Wanganui-based outfit is built around Carl Perkins, a roots-reggae stalwart whose past credentials include the likes of Herbs, Mana and the Twelve Tribes of Israel band.

Sons Te Omeka, 24, and Isaiah, 20, join him as co-lead vocalists in the seven-piece lineup set to appear at Revolver tonight.

Te Omeka says Carl’s legacy is evident wherever the group plays.

“You see a lot of older faces of dad’s generation at gigs, but also the new generation who are inspired by him,” he explains. “He’s got girls down the front, screaming … just knowing what their parents have told them about him.”

Any musical differences are usually settled with Carl having the final say, says Te Omeka, because dad has “been there, done that”.

But mostly it’s a harmonious relationship, with all three chipping in when it comes to songwriting.

“Isaiah and I have grown up listening to Dad’s music – I was performing with his main band when
I was 12 or 13. What he’s done has definitely inspired us, but we’re also helping him out with his stuff.”

House of Shem released debut album Keep Rising last year and have recently put the finishing touches to a live-
performance video for What About The Children.

Te Omeka says that after a busy summer of touring and festival appearances at the likes of Rhythm and Vines, Parachute and Parihaka, they are looking forward to making a start on new material.

Trips to Australia and Hawaii are also on the cards for 2009.

“Actually, coming down south is also a big thing for us – we’ve never been down as far as Queenstown before.

We want to get the album into homes down there, which is every bit as hard as getting into Aussie.

“We’ve been noted as New Zealand’s most uplifting band, and I really like that word. Our music is about spreading positive messages to everyone.”

Catch House of Shem at Revolver tonight from 9pm