Arriving at the venue not much past 8pm, I am surprised to find that I have missed the support act Seventh Void and it isn’t much of a wait till Monster Magnet take to the stage.
This early start has frustrated a number of the audience who ended up missing the first part of the band’s set; and, boy, did they miss a blinder of an opening. Monster Magnet take their positions and strike up the feedback followed by an array of psychedelic effects leading up to one of their earliest, but undoubtedly one of their finest, tracks Nod Scene.
Wyndorf’s vocals are engaging and the groove of the song is mesmerising, this track maybe twenty years old but its roots lie in the late ‘60’s and give it a timeless element. Halfway through, I begin to wonder where the set is going to go from here as this is an awesome rendition of my favourite Monster Magnet track; how can it get any better? The sharp riff and the faster pace of Tractor lifts the energy levels of the crowd and sees a number of people move from head bobbing into jumping with appreciation. Wyndorf knows how to get the most from his audience through his obvious passion for the music he plays and his selection of rock stances.
Dopes to Infinity continues the theme of older tracks from Monster Magnet’s back catalogue, which I am utterly relishing as I do think their earlier albums are far superior to their later work. Wyndorf loses his vocal strength momentarily in the song but it doesn’t detract from the performance or the clarity with which he presents the lyrics. The next couple of songs are from Monster Magnet’s latest album, Mastermind. Hallucination Bomb and Dig That Hole are welcomed by the crowd but not with the enthusiasm of the previous tracks, however, they do stay true to the Magnet sound that everyone loves.
After this minor dip, Medicine reignites the venue and makes me question why Monster Magnet are playing such a small place when they can provide such a fantastic audio onslaught as this. Medicine segues seamlessly into Look for Your Orb for the Warning, a slow grinding piece that gives space to intermittent segments of sparseness, and sees Wyndorf making full use of his effects board.
After an hour, the set draws to a close with a rousing version of Spacelord, probably their most famous track to date, which sees Wyndorf encourage the crowd to join in with the motherfucker line of the song. The rest of the band, have given everything to the performance too, including the bassist, Jim, who is struggling with a broken hand due to a minor fracas in Sheffield.
Monster Magnet leave the stage to rapturous and well deserved applause, luckily to return with Gods and Punks. They end the encore with Crop Circle and Power Trip, both of which are truly embraced by all in the venue with a large number of people giving utter commitment to singing and jumping; an energetic response which was definitely sparked and fanned throughout by Wyndorf.
As they stroll off stage, I realise how loud the show has been but the whistling in my ears reminds me of seeing Monster Magnet in the early ‘90’s at Edwards and how awesome they were then. So many years later, they have returned to that great status possibly because of the inclusion of so much of their earlier work but also because Wyndorf is on true form as stoner rock’s greatest frontman. If you have never heard of Monster Magnet before, you must definitely check out their first three albums and certainly catch them live as they are on fire at the moment.
Review – Toni Woodward
Photos – Annette Erkintalo