The weather had been indecisive for a few days before the show, veering between pleasant summer and anticipating thunder, which left a very hot and brewing air indoors. An ideal atmosphere for a night of heavy stoner rock, if you ask me.
I’d seen and shot Monster Magnet a couple of years before at the AB in Brussels and didn’t want to miss a show much closer to home this time. Being able to shoot them was almost an added bonus, since they blew off the roof the previous time. We went in kind of blind to the two supporting bands, ¡Pendejo! and Table Scraps, which led to some very pleasant surprises.
¡Pendejo! kicked off the night, skipping introductions and launching straight into a very Mexican sounding heavy rock n’ roll spiced up with trumpet and trombone and a couple of swigs of rum if I’m not mistaken. Having never heard of the band, but a preference for anything that sounds out of the ordinary, their tunes quickly spoke to me. But imagine my surprise when after the 3rd track, the front man suddenly addressed the crowd in a very Dutch accent! To my untrained ear, I’d heard none of that in his Spanish up untill then. Funny moments always help the mood though (except for doom of course). Though the room was sparsely populated at first (weather? weekday?), their tunes worked like a lure drawing folks in. I quite liked their set, so will definitely look up some more of their music. Oh yeah, and bonus points for creative mic usage: switching to the mic at the end of the trumpet for special effect vocals.
Next up were Table Scraps, “[…] from Birmingham, the birth place of Black Sabbath and Heavy Metal”, as they said it themselves. That’s putting out a very high reference to aim for… But the British trio delivered! Bathed in flooding lights, the guitarist played with a strange combination of nervous intensity — impossible to tell if it was barely contained energy or actual nerves — and a very laid back feel shared with the rest of the band. Sounds paradoxical, but you had to be there… And all the while they blasted out these complex high energy tracks with the drummer doing backing vocals. These are some very skilled people to watch out for!
Not sure whether Monster Magnet took a little longer prepping or Table Scraps raced through their set faster than planned, but the wait between both bands was a little longer than expected. So the crowd got a little rowdy by the end. Turns out that was just what Dave Wyndorf and his bandmates wanted in the end. The band started off their show relatively calm though. Like leaving the drive in low gear before you can make your way onto the motorway but fully intending to go full throttle. The whole set seemed designed as one big build up, whipping the — by now packed — venue into into a frenzy. It was very clear Monster Magnet was what the crowd really had come for, because they wasted no time getting in the flow. A few songs in and Dave had us eating out if his hand.
Look to Your Orb for the Warning halfway through the set gave me personally a bit of a flashback, having heard the track a lot on the Matrix OST long ago and not much since then. That was the last calm moment though, only increasing power from then on out. Wyndorf prefaced Space Lord with an intro that transformed the song into an anthem for everyone in the venue. At peak synergy the whole room, front to back, was singing along to the whole song. The roof had to come off.
It would’ve been an awesome ending to a good night, but the crowd wasn’t having an ending just yet. The enthusiasm was reciprocated and just like the show at the AB years ago, the band geared up for a second burn. In just 3 songs they brought us to boiling point a second time only to finish off with a very apt Powertrip including mosh pit and crowd surfing. I saw a lot of happy exhausted faces on the way to the bar after that. Great show!
Enjoy the pics: