Seminal stoner rockers Monster Magnet brought their brawny, psych rock sludge to the HiFi in Brisbane on Saturday night and reminded their fans just why we love these trippy New Jersey space lords. Shredding through a selection of tunes from new album, Last Patrol, and old favourites from way back, the band was in top form. Frontman Dave Wyndorf growled and roared his way through classics, such as Dopes to Infinity and Look to Your Orb for the Warning. Over his 25 years in the business, he’s fought his demons and done some hard living, but his energy levels remain undiminished; and, onstage, he’s as charismatic as ever. No pomp. No ego shows or bantering with the band. Just a solid, engaging performance combined with a powerhouse of a voice that transforms him into a thundering, fire-breathing, psychedelic evangelist. From outer space.
We were fortunate enough to nab a spot right down the front and the energy of the crowd was something to behold. Crusty old stoners, diehard fans, and fresh-faced newcomers alike lapped up every lick during the brilliant, if businesslike, show. I don’t think I can recall a time I’ve witnessed more grown men becoming so emotional over a hard rock act (well, not publicly): ‘I’ve loved these guys forever!’ ‘How long have you liked them, dude? I’ve been into them since I was 11!’ ‘I met Dave before the show! He’s aaaawesome!’ And the mosh pit was filled with high fives, stupid grins, and nodding heads all night. ‘No, no, you stand in front of me so you can see’, one punter even insisted, making me wonder if I wasn’t in the politest mosh pit in history.
The show opened with epic title track from the new album, Last Patrol, and followed up with a white hot rendition of trippy tune from way back, Tractor. The most animated band member was probably rhythm mainstay, Phil Caivano, with whom Wyndorf co-produced Last Patrol. Clearly enjoying proceedings, he frequently joined lead guitarist, Garrett Sweeny, downstage, trading riffs and generally tearing the lid off the HiFi. For his part, Sweeny delivered an impressive performance – understated, but impeccable.
Highlights are hard to identify, since everything was top-notch. Spine of God, Powertrip, and Space Lord were, predictably, phenomenal. Wyndorf encouraged the crowd to sing along with Space Lord and they obliged. With Wyndorf’s power pipes, big, meaty drums, and a three-guitar assault over a thumping bass, the gig was a tour de force, to say the least. I think my comrades in the mosh pit would agree that, overall, Monster Magnet live makes for a loud, fuzz-drenched and, ultimately, seriously good time.