By Bec Hennessy
I’m usually a bit pessimistic about bands re-emerging or re-inventing themselves from their 90’s hey day. My nostalgia for that era runs deep, and I’m wary of new albums and new tours producing forgettable records and lacklustre live performances that ruin my fond memories. I’ve seen/heard some cringe inducing ones, but lately it’s looking up. Nine Inch Nails and Alice In Chains both recently soothed my fears, and rocked my world. Enter the heavy psych rock fuzz of Monster Magnet.
I’m happy to say there was no disappointment. A tight, rocking show was had. Supported by Byron Bay’s Fort who I unfortunately missed (thanks Brisbane City Council buses). Luckily, King Of The North blasted some killer ‘capital R’ rock that soothed my public transport rage. A guitar/drums duo I wanna see more of, lacking in band members but not in attitude or sound. Vocalist Andrew Higgs invited us to move up and fill the front mosh area with a confidence and intensity, that could only be met with compliance. Drummer Danny Leo‘s backing vocals are anything but backing, bonus. At the gig’s close I hear a patron waxing lyrical to them about how big they sound despite being a two piece. I bet they get that all the time, but they take the compliment nonetheless.
Monster Magnet stroll nonchalantly onto the stage and, without further ado, leap into the heavy winding psych jams we know them for. Lead singer Dave Wyndorf is a laconic rock god, clad in a leather jacket, hair gently tousled by a fan. He launches into some rambling stage banter at various moments I can’t quite catch, but I suspect is fairly whimsical even if I got it word for word.
Despite this, guitarist Phil Caivano is somehow still the main attraction with that slightly unnerving piercing gaze and lead guitar showmanship. Wyndorf intermittently and almost absent-mindedly chops at his guitar. He sings with hands out, beckoning us in a story telling fashion when he’s not unleashing that deliciously deep vocal rumble. Apart from his little asides to the crowd, there is minimal band interaction. This doesn’t seem odd though, they appear relaxed yet focused. Powering through a pretty evenly spread set list, that’s heavy and noodly in all the right places.
I hope I’m as insouciantly straight up rock cool as this guys when I’m their age. I even liked that they saved their big hit Spacelord for last, something they could have not played at all or dispensed with early in their set, but they kept it til the encore. Maybe they are just as nostalgic as me. Wyndorf asked us “motherfuckers” to sing along, we oblige, and I leave with my 90’s dreams still intact. Thanks guys.