Manchester Academy 2 – 24 November 2012
Having returned two years ago following a resurgence in fortunes with a new album and a new focus, Monster Magnet showed the world that they were still an active force to be reckoned with. While not about current glories, this evening was about taking a trip down memory lane to revisit the glorious “Spine Of God” opus. Prior to the sprawling psycadelic freak show rolling up we got a taste of German act My Sleeping Karma. Their otherworldly noise filled the hall, alternating between delicate ambience and driving Sabbathian riffage. The instrumental quartet are mesmerising, as is the light show, with images of Buddha amongst the intoxicating cosmic vibes that sweep you up and draw you to them. Their watertight percussion and shimmering keyboard passages should bring them a lot of attention in the future.
It was then time for the main fix with the acid fried strains of “Pill Shovel” kicking in to gear. Monster Magnet are in their element. Jim Baglino waved his Rickenbacker bass like a broadsword while guitarists Ed Mundell and Phil Caivano peel off hedonistic swathes of sonic excess with Bob Pantella keeping it tight at the back letting the rhythm do the talking. It was encouraging to see a few white haired audience members rubbing shoulders with young teens, proof positive of the intergenerational appeal of this enduring act who took up the iconic chorus of “Nod Scene” with gusto.
Dave Wyndorf loved every minute, thrusting himself against his guitar much to the enjoyment of female audience members as the band blended ‘Doors style 60s psyche with a leviathan dose of Hawkwind meets Stooges bluster. The intoxicating mood lighting helps make the acoustic tinged “Zodiac Lung” a truly engrossing trip but before you can become too lost in the mellow cosmic vibe the band kicked into the riff driving bad ass that is “Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother”. Ending the “Spine…” portion of the set with a song about “Having sex on LSD” “Ozium” shows a more subtle side The ‘Magnet before the encore saw “Powertrip” era hit “Tractor” make a welcome appearance. While “Space Lord” and more recent hits didn’t make the cut tonight, this was an evening of celebration of the double M’s lesser touted works which felt like more than just a retrospective but a regeneration of the band’s lusty and vital catalogue.