MONSTER MAGNET – Bergen – Garage
The US stoner rock institution that is Monster Magnet kicked off their "Celebrating the A&M Years Live" tour on a jarringly cold Monday night at the rather small and intimate venue named Garage in Bergen, which, for better or worse, is a legendary place, at least to some of us. Anyway, Monster Magnet were not exactly alone on the bill; Scorpion Child from Austin, Texas, supported them, and I might as well tell you right here and now that those moody Zeppelin-loving fucks turned out to be just as good and captivating on stage as Monster Magnet, which is saying something.
Scorpion Child were already on stage by the time I arrived at Garage, but I caught about 40 minutes of their set, and they surprised the shit out of me. Truth be told, I had only ever listened to the awesome track entitled "She Sings, I Kill" prior to this gig, but having listened to them live I swear on everything that is gross that I will check these guys’ music out in more detail. The great vocals, the melancholic tinge inherent in many of the songs, the fuzzy guitars, the laidback and hazy atmosphere, and the dynamics totally did it for me. As I said, there was a strong Zeppelin-like vibe running through Scorpion Child’s somewhat hypnotic and memorable song material. Despite the loose vibe of the music, these guys were tight, and they did not waste any time in between songs. Not only a pleasant surprise, but also a small musical triumph as well. The crowd was definitely into this, so do yourself a favor and check the band out if you get the chance.
Monster Magnet hardly needs any introduction. As the name of the tour suggests, the band dug deep into the archives and only focused on songs off the following four albums: "Powertrip", "Superjudge", "God Says No’", and "Dopes To Infinity". I dare say that many of the band’s fans hold those albums in high regard. To be perfectly honest with you, I listened to Monster Magnet quite a bit back in the day, but then for some reason I drifted away from these guys. It was not until recently that I dug out some of their albums again. Yeah, I know, I am a dick! I definitely have some catching up to do, but, as usual, I digress.
The band went onstage a little past 10 PM. The size of the crowd was decent considering that the show was on a Monday night and that people generally suck ass when it comes to catching shows and gigs on weekdays. Monster Magnet launched into "Crop Circle" and we were off to a good start. The psychedelic 70s vibe was still intact, and Dave Wyndorf’s voice was generally strong and booming throughout the entire show. From where I was standing, the sound was really punchy and bass-heavy, but slightly rough around the edges, which was great. It enhanced the atmosphere somehow. The band as a whole was in good shape and displayed a lot of enthusiasm and energy, and it was fun to watch them perform in such an intimate setting. Dynamic and groovy songs such as "Powertrip", "Melt", "Superjudge", and the otherworldly "Down by the River" all sounded great. Granted, some tunes are more experimental than others are, but they struck a nice balance between the instantly catchy ones and the slightly more hazy and strange ones. Wyndorf definitely has a captivating charisma on stage, and, as with Scorpion Child, he did not waste any time in between songs. "Cage Around the Sun" and "Space Lord" were arguably the highlights of the evening. People went ape-shit when Monster Magnet launched into the latter, but that is hardly surprising. After roughly an hour and ten minutes, the band went offstage for about ten minutes before they came back and played a few encores of which "I Want More" and "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" came across quite well. All in all this turned out to be a highly entertaining and fun night thanks to two bands that both boasted strong performances. Now, if you will excuse me, I simply have to go and listen some more to Scorpion Child.