Monster Magnet @ o2 Academy 2, 21st May, 2017

Monster Magnet

A few short minutes after London based opener for Monster Magnet, The Dust Coda leaves the stage, an army of amplifiers appear and psychedelic oil projections begin to dance across the walls of Birmingham’s O2 Academy 2. A strong turnout of old hippies, tripped out girls and battle-jacket-clad metalheads are clearly whet with anticipation, and as the lights drop, the band walks onto the small stage to complete silence (apart from the roar of the crowd, of course).

Incense wafts up into the roof and the band shoots a cacophony of noises into the audience, who return fire with a huge ovation for front man (and only remaining founder member) Dave Wyndorf as he struts on to the stage in last place. Snarling into the abyss he makes his intentions very clear as Monster Magnet fire up the machine and kick into opening number “Dopes to Infinity”.

Monster MagnetMonster Magnet

There is no time left between songs at all. No joshing with the crowd or promoting their Facebook like count is to take place, strictly business. Sludgy desert riffs curdle the air as lightening quick guitar changes aid the band in their hit-after-hit barrage. Wyndorf’s voice ranges through soaring metal squawks to guttural operatic baritones, and at times it’s nearly as loud as the huge sequence of thuds coming from Bob Pantella’s pristine clear Perspex Ludwig drum set. He’s channelling his inner Bonham and no doubt this kit can be heard as far afield as Bonzo’s native Redditch.

Monster Magnet

As the set progresses, and very quickly at that, the band continue their onslaught, peppering the running order with crowd pleasers Powertrip and Look To Your Orb For The Warning. The high point of the night comes, rather surprisingly, with the slowest and quietest song. Spine of God is moody, ethereal and more like a rare doors B-side than a Monster Magnet song. It gargles on for a strong 10 or so minutes before the band make their exit from the stage, leaving in their wake an echoing rumble of feedback and effects, for what feels like an age before they return for a short encore.

Monster Magnet

As Wyndorf returns, he is more talkative than we’re used to, and he delivers a moving speech justifying his excessive use of the word ‘mother fucker’ before leading the crowd in a sort of Buddhist chant of his favourite expletive. The three songs of the encore power on, and a clear peak is reached with the 1998 single Space Lord closing the show. The room is deafening as the droves of fans bounce as if watching a dance act into the droning cadences of the night.

We have been used, abused and tarnished as the band files off stage and flicks us onto the rug like a used condom. Tonight Monster Magnet proved why they are still in business after near enough three decades and they show no sign of slowing down.


Reviewer: Robb Cartin

Photographer: Ian Dunn

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