A 500+ mile powertrip to see Monster Magnet for the first time might seem a touch much, but a sole UK date in London meant it was needs must time. The mighty Magnet are still touring in support of last year’s release, Mindfucker (Napalm Records), rolling back through the UK again, this time bringing along London-based trio Puppy, celebrating their debut release the previous week, as a bit of extra delight for the gig.
So, Puppy take to the stage, minus their intro music which messes up, though they try to cheerfully re-enact it between drums and vocals. The London three-piece have just released their debut full-length and it’s clear that a few in the venue, like myself, are already aware of the band, with more getting into it as the crowd continues to grow, with the vocals/guitarist Jock Norton introducing the first single, ‘Black Hole’ (Spinefarm), when they play it a few songs into the set.
There are very few breaks between tracks, as Puppy seek to maximise their stage and set time, proudly letting their music do the talking, which works well as many around me seem to be either nodding their head or shifting their feet. They keep more to the rockier end of their music, rather than some of the softer, more melodious side that I’ve previously seen live.
The messed-up intro apart, the band is tight and on their game, with their signature vocal harmonies on-point, Jock even breaking out some gratuitous shredding for the set closer. A worthy performance from a band that should have a very bright future, Puppy seem to pick up a number of new fans tonight, rightfully so after such a good forty-minute set.
Time for Monster Magnet then and, man, are they on form tonight! Their set has been shortened from their usual to an hour and twenty, missing out some of the more psychedelic numbers they often include, providing a more in your face, attitude-riddled ensemble for our collective aural delights. The busy crowd are up for it from the very start, showing plenty of energy and lung capacity as they scream relentlessly along to the sonic landscape driven into, and through us by Dave Wyndorf and co.
The band launch straight into ‘Dopes To Infinity’ before heading into the new territory of ‘Rocket Freak’, which garners as much zeal from the crowd as the previous song, dealing a true sonic attack into our eardrums. ‘Crop Circle’ and ‘Radiation Day’ follow just behind, whilst I seem to be dealing self-induced whiplash upon myself as I’m unable to resist the sheer ferocity of the set.
Magnet are playing at a breakneck pace, barely pausing between songs, if at all, at times, following the admirable lead Puppy had earlier given us, maximising the time spent on smashing our eardrums asunder.
The set continues as it started, with the psychedelic edge of Monster Magnet’s usual live shows being somewhat cast aside for the evening with a feeling of pure anger and malevolence pervading the atmosphere, in the best possible way, as the boisterous crowd continue to sing along at the tops of their voices to the Heavy Rock rantings.
Things continue with ‘Melt’ and ‘Ego The Living Planet’, amongst others, before approaching the end of the main body of their set. What two could they finish with but ‘Negasonic Teenage Warhead’ and ‘Spacelord’ – the finale being the only time we really get into Monster Magnet’s Psych Rockside on the night. They briefly leave the stage for Dave to have a brief rest, though he remains off while the rest of the band comes back on to start off the encores with ‘CNN War Theme’, which the guys perform with the utmost precision and feeling. We have time for ‘Dinosaur Vacuum’ and ‘Powertrip’ to finish the set, with the crowd all but drowning out the band, leaving it a glorious way to finish an excellent evening of music.
A 21 hour day was worth it thanks to everything taken in tonight and a performance that will live on in my mind for a while yet.