Monster Magnet at ElectricSupport:
January 29, 2019 at Electric
A consistently excellent live band over the years, but last year’s most fitting of festivals for Monster Magnet, Desertfest’s co-headline performance with Dave Wyndorf’s heroes Hawkwind, may turn out to be their most memorable in recent times. Bombarding the legendary Roundhouse with an extra loaded, heavily reverbed sound-explosion (on the back of their latest well-received Mindfucker album, which reverted to their classic Powertrip album’s stripped down set of no-nonsense bangers) It was, at times, an astonishing sonic assault. Fast forward eight months and tonight’s appearance at Brixton’s Electric venue is set to be their only UK show of 2019.
So, which direction will their set take tonight?
From the opening revving-up of the Monster Magnet engines from the intro to ‘Dopes to infinity’, it’s clear Dave is at his animated, commanding best right; all thrusting, flexing arm-movements and wide-eyed facial expressions. It sets in motion an avalanche of a frontal assault of rock ‘n’ roll spirit and attitude. The way they attack ‘Rocket Freak’, laying an added charging oomph compared to the recorded version, while the psych dials are turned up to staggering in ‘Crop Cycle’. This is a masterclass of heavy psych delivered in a no-nonsense hard rockin’ style. It’s a mix which cements, if any mor(e)tar was needed, why they are masters of what they do.
The focus of their set revolves around Powertrip and Dopes to Infinity albums, but it is the latter’s representations which burn with explosive head-tripping meltdowns: ‘Look to your Orb for the Warnings’ has a wrecking-ball heaviness while ‘Ego, the Living Planet’ ramps up a weightier, sonic mind-blowing psych to eleven. And if that wasn’t aurally head-messing enough, the strobe-lighting overkill at the midway point confirmed everything tonight is going to be delivered with zeal and excess.
And the whole band are getting involved: also whipping up crowd participation are guitarists Ed Mundell, Phil Caivano, and bassist Jim Baglino whom join in with some occasional front-of-stage rocking out. Which, of course, the end of set-closer “Space Lord’ never fails to deliver in conjunction with large audience participation, and the same can be said for encore-closer ‘Powertrip’. While Superjudge‘s ‘Dinosaur Vacuum’, pouring all their Hawkwind influences in one slim-line shot, is a surprise inclusion sandwiched in-between such Magnet classics,
As the heavy wave of sonic sound fragments fade and the lights go up, myself and many around this reviewer are left grinning with pleasure. Tonight, at the Electric in Brixton, another happy memory is added to the continuing glory of experiencing a mind- and face-melting Monster Magnet gig. Psych on! Dave Wyndorf’s intergalactic rebel-cruising, space-tripping, mind-fucking bruisers.