Monster Magnet – The Fleece, Bristol, Sunday 4th August 2013

Although UK tours pass through Bristol quite a lot, it’s very rare to see concerts here when the headline band in question are only playing two dates – usually the two cities involved are London and one other that isn’t Bristol. Naturally, therefore, the 400-capacity Fleece is packed out to see Dave Wyndorf and Monster Magnet (9) return to our shores. Or maybe that’s because the venue serves Trooper Ale on draught…


All joking aside, it’s Welsh trio Hark (6) who gets things underway, and sadly it all rather splutters along. They might only play to a quarter of the expected turn out but the music was fairly straight forward hard-rock-by-numbers, and the band didn’t seem bothered in any way to get everyone warmed up which meant they barely made much of an impression. Indeed, they only generated polite applause from the 100 or so punters that watched their half hour set and it was a shame, because if Jimbob Isaac, Nikolai Ribnikov and Simon Bonwick had looked like they were enjoying themselves it would have been a completely different story.

No such problems for Godsized (8) though, who take their stage slot by the scruff of the neck and give it a good kicking. The opening double of ‘Walking Away’ and ‘Soul Taker’ shocks the Fleece into life and new single ‘Heavy Load’ from debut album Time follows. They might be from the UK but they sound like a Black Stone Cherry-meets-Mastodon cocktail and the difference in energy levels between them and Hark is an almighty chasm. They only play seven songs but they succeed in lighting the touchpaper that this gig needed, and by the time they finish off proceedings with ‘Heavy Hand’ and leave the stage, everyone is awake and ready for the main event. Definitely a band to check out.


With Peter Capaldi being revealed as the next actor to play Doctor Who on this evening, it is perhaps fitting that the first half of Monster Magnet’s set should be dedicated to music that could quite easily provide the soundtrack to the Timelord’s many adventures. Despite arriving on stage a full 20 minutes late, the quintet immediately cast their spell over the Fleece as they slide into ‘Hallucination Bomb’ and an invisible haze descends on the venue. All of a sudden it is a lot warmer, a lot dreamier, a lot more…spaced out. Clearly it spaces out the sound system as well, because it struggles to cope with the amount of effects that are ensuing from everyone on stage, which is a definite drawback. And even though you really can’t mess with songs like ‘Dopes to Infinity’ and ‘Spine of God’, Dave’s over-caressing of his guitar neck is more than a little cringey, particularly during the latter of those two songs. All of a sudden, everything seems a little self-indulgent and arrogant.

IMG_1840And then, a moment of magic. Dave holds the microphone and says, ‘That was the psychedelic rock part of our show over. Now it’s time for you guys to bring something to MY motherfucking party!’ A huge cheer goes up, the band kick into ‘Crop Circle’ and Monster Magnet simply EXPLODE. Bodies are moving faster and faster, the haze is blown away and we are back in the real world. From here on in it’s all about the Powertrip album, with the title track and ‘Space Lord’ following on and producing the biggest sing-a-long of the night in what appears to be a hard rock hoedown, of all things. The band depart. The audience wait. They wait some more. A stage invader embarrasses herself by drunkenly shouting into the microphone. Guitar picks are stolen from the mic stand. And then Monster Magnet return to thrash out ‘Atomic Clock’, ‘Cage Around the Sun’ and ‘Tractor’ to end the evening on a very definite high note. Their new album, Last Patrol, is due to drop in October and I am sure they will be back to the UK either later this year or early 2014 to showcase their new material. What’s very apparent though is that Monster Magnet are alive, well and still kicking some major backside.

Monster Magnet
Dave Wyndorf – lead vocals, guitar
Garrett Sweeny – lead guitar
Phil Caivano – rhythm guitar
Jim Baglino – Bass guitar
Bob Pantella – Drums

Monster Magnet Setlist

1) Hallucination Bomb
2) Dopes to Infinity
3) Twin Earth
4) Look To Your Orb for the Warning
5) Longhair
6) Spine of God
7) Crop Circle
8) Powertrip
9) Space Lord
10) Atomic Clock
11) Cage Around the Sun
12) Tractor

About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.