Live Reviews : Monster Magnet (Melbourne) – 08/09/2009
w/ Cockfight Shootout and Regular John
Billboard The Venue – 8th September 2009
Opening the show on a fairly low note, Cockfight Shootout displayed their relatively bland rock to a relatively small crowd. While they definitely had a solid rock sound, there was little to no memorable moments and no strong melodies or bursts of power to really grab my attention. Surprisingly, the sound was quite good and only got better as the night progresses. Quite often the opening support is lacking in this area, but it was mixed well. The guitar solos were drowned out at the beginning by the opposite guitar but that was soon fixed. They received a decent response and while I’m certainly not going to rush out to see them, they did seem to get a few new fans.
The main support however, Sydney’s Regular John provided a much more exciting style, bringing in the psychedelic and stoner touches that the crowd wanted from the night. There were even some small classic punk influences, particularly the vocals during “Language”. Not only were they more interesting, with the songs actually varying in sound and structure, they had a lot more power than those before them, both musically and vocally. While I wasn’t a huge fan of one of the vocalist, who sounded too croaky for my liking, the harsh and clean vocals from the other two were fantastic. By the time Regular John had hit the stage the crowd had definitely built up and combined with the fact they actually had moving lights, another thing Cockfight Shootout were missing, they definitely put on the better show. I’m still a tad confused about why their drummer stood up and walked off stage butt-naked at the end of the set though.
As the sold-out venue waited for psychedelic headliners Monster Magnet to hit the stage, we were kept ‘entertained’ with a mixture of black and white footage projected onto the stage, featuring girls getting naked, drug-taking, random close-up shots of faces, and everything else you would expect from a band like this. Just as those around me were getting that little bit restless, the music died down and Monster Magnet came out to a huge cheer from the crowd. Jumping straight into the music, the band flew through what was essentially a greatest hits show. Clearly the crowd were more than happy with this, cheering every time each well-known track started. There were no long speeches from the band and other than a few short thankyous from Dave Wyndorf, it was straight from one song into the next. “Dopes to Infinity”, “Crop Circle”, “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”, “Tractor” and “Powertrip” were all met with universal-glee, with the latter in particular getting a huge sing-along from a crowd who clearly hated their jobs. The band were on fire with Dave Wyndorf in particular souding massive. Much rougher and gruffer than on the recordings, his voice powered over the top of everything else. Tracks like “Third Alternative” and the crowd favourite “Space Lord”, where there were sections of minimal music and maximum vocals were definitely the highlights for me. Not only did the band sound absolutely massive, with one of the best mixes I’ve heard an international band have, the visuals were spot-on. Projected imagery of planets, skulls exploding, and miscellaneous trippy patterns adorned the stage and the lights complemented them well without being too over-the-top. By the end of the show, the crowd would probably have been happy no matter what was happening because the amount of joints being handed around the crowd was, well really not surprising actually. Bringing the show to an end was “Spine of God” with the lyrics to the Don McLean classic “American Pie” being mixed in, getting a few smirks from the crowd. Clearly happy with the show (and the substances taken during it), an ecstatic crowd made their way out of the venue with “That’s Amore” blasting over the speakers. Come back Monster Magnet!
Reviewed by Mitch Booth (Mean Machine)