Space rock pioneers from New Jersey returned to Europe in January to inflict some blistering, mindfucking rock as Dave Wyndorf put it himself. In less than a month, Monster Magnet toured 12 countries further promoting their recent record, Mindfucker, whilst weaving some older treats into the setlist. Having seen that the band was throwing an explicit Dutch gig I thought: “Man, you must be there!”. Especially because it was to be in Effenaar where the quality of sound is fantastic and the place is just down the road. So I was there.
With the mood set up just right I dived into the crowd and waited for Puppy to warm the place up. Not knowing the band, I wasn’t sure what to expect but hey, that’s how you discover good music sometimes. When the boys hit the stage, the evening had officially started. After a couple of tracks though, I already knew that Puppy was not my thing. Reminiscent of the likes of Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins or even blink-182, it felt detached from the spacy realm of Monster Magnet. The soft, almost teenage-like vocals, unfortunately, didn’t go in line with the rather powerful riffs and beats which I all often found confusing. Yet in the end, it was an enjoyable concert. Shout-out to Puppy’s drummer, Billy Howard, for a solid performance and some impressive percussion work!
Half an hour after the support act, lights went out and Monster Magnet stormed the stage. A shy trickle of astral noise started pouring down the speakers transforming into the classic Dopes To Infinity title song. The ultimate psychedelic journey through space began with no other than the mighty Spacelord on the lead. Following up was Rocket Freak , a killer track from the band’s most recent album, Mindfucker. Kicking off with a solid dose of easy rock and roll the band swiftly got the people moving. The balance between vocals and instruments sounded beautifully and was crisp enough to hear even the softest chords.
Continuing with treasures of the past came Crop Circle from the well-received Powertrip album from 1998. Ah, I waited to hear this track live for such a long time! It certainly didn’t disappoint as the whole band delivered it with amazing energy only later to transition to Radiation Day, another song sexy enough to seduce one into dancing or headbanging. The other half of the setlist included 3 more tracks from Dopes To Infinity of which Negasonic Teenage Warhead was to me the most anticipated one. It was indeed good, however some chords felt different and Dave’s vocals were at times quite divergent. Naturally it was the charm of the live act yet it didn’t unleash the full power of the song. On the other hand though, people went crazy and embraced the track full-on. Later came Spacelord, the last track before the encore. Here the actual Spacelord invited everyone to join him on that final journey by singing the chorus along and having some serious fun. And I mean, it’s always great to hear the crowd and Dave shouting: “Spacelord, motherfucker!”. The looping chorus accompanied by trippy guitar solos and a massive reverb, slowly faded away leaving the room trapped amidst musical fallout. For some reason I felt like the whole energy of attendees, carefully extracted throughout the whole gig, quickly dispersed as soon as the band had left the stage. “That encore gotta be good otherwise these people will just keep on standing still!” I told myself.
Picking up after a short absence, Monster Magnet returned with CNN War Theme, an honestly unexpected appearance on this setlist. Having heard it only through my speakers I wondered what energy it conveyed live. Same went for the second to last track, the psychedelic Dinosaur Vacume. While I appreciated that the band resurrected some of their older, not so popular tracks, they unfortunately failed to set the place on fire. Closing the evening with Powertrip, Monster Magnet yet again got the crowd moving and shouting as if saving the last bits of space fuel just for this moment. Honestly, it brought a wide smile to my face as I’ve had some seriously fun memories of this song. I felt the energy and it left me content.
Summing up, it was indeed a great evening full of atomic riffs, some sonic surprises and most importantly – joy. It didn’t really matter if the support act felt out of place, whether Monster Magnet missed some chords or tweaked their tracks. What did matter was that everyone I saw was truly enjoying the act. Celebrating the moment. Being happy for attending the gig. Having fun. And believe me, Dave Wyndorf and his boys are capable of delivering tons of it.
Thanks for the read 🙂 Monster Magnet is one of my favorite bands, therefore capturing and reporting this gig was pure bliss. Next gig on the list: John Garcia and The Band Of Gold. Be sure to stay around for more upcoming content, check out the newest More Fuzz podcast and keep on fuzzin’ You guys rock, till next time!