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Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews, Tours

DSC_5482 (2)I’m rather vocal about how much rock music today is lacking. With a lack of forward momentum and the sound of the genre becoming stagnant, most bands tend to lean towards being a pop act. I did a whole article on this, but in that observation Monster Magnet wasn’t mentioned once. For good reason, Monster Magnet are a rock band from the NJ area that are now boasting twelve albums, ranging from catchy hard rock to 70’s inspired stoner rock. Breaking form the mold and going about the genre in a passionate manner is the most genuine way to write music, and upon seeing the band live, you can easily tell just how much love goes into performing to a room full of fans in front of them. There’s no veil separating you from the band, as Monster Magnet are a genuine live act.

After four opening acts, Monster Magnet had brought Painted Doll along for the show. Having known nothing about the band, I was surprised to hear an uncanny blend of Blue Oyster Cult and Oasis together. In truth, that makes a lot of sense when you sit and think about it, but when you’re me and listening to basement tapes of black metal bands from the most isolated parts of Norway… You don’t get to hear this kind of music too often, to say the least. All in all, Painted Doll came and did their set very well, but props must be given to their bass player. Numerous times through the set, I’d find my attention going to her and away from the rest of the band because of how impressive and clean her playing was. Maybe it’s the bass player in me that was so impressed by it, but she has chops and added an extra something to the band.

DSC_5991 (2)It was late by the time Monster Magnet took to the stage, but while the crowd had been through five bands by this point, the opening notes of “Dopes to Infinity” was more than enough to rejuvenate the entirety of the venue. Frontman Dave Wyndorf strutted onto the stage with a big smile across his face, and immediately took command of the stage alongside his band mates. There’s one thing in coming out and having confidence, but when your opening track compliments that notion entirely, it sends a shockwave out to everyone around you. Through the opening quarter of their set, the band didn’t stop between any of their songs and kept going like a freight train. I simply cannot express how much I love it when the band doesn’t stop and spend five minutes talking to the crowd when they know they could fill the time slot with another song.

About four songs in and Monster Magnet finally brought out the newer material in the form of the album’s title track. I was no doubt enjoying myself by this point during their set, but upon doing a look-around of the room, I realized how die-hard some of these fans were and just how much more they were enjoying it than I was. With Wyndorf feeding into the crowd’s energy and the crowd giving it right back to him, it was like a constant cycle of the band going on a natural high in the room. On this song in particular, hearing everyone around be shout back at Wyndorf “You’re a mindfucker, baby!” was empowering, to say the least, and impressive considering the extensive discography the band has to pick from.

DSC_5772 (2)That brings me to one of my criticism I had with the band’s set, however, in which the band simply did not play long enough. Oddly enough that’s more of a compliment than it is a critique, but the fact remains that myself and the rest of the crowd could have easily gone for three more songs at least, maybe even more. The band didn’t set foot on stage until around 10:30, but maybe if there were less  bands on the bill, possibly cutting out of the local slots out, the band would have been able to have gone on for longer. Otherwise, my complaints are limited to technical aspects, such as the band not having nearly enough lights on stage and the band were playing in borderline pitch-blackness at points, which is so contrasting to how colorful and borderline psychedelic their music can be.

Those qualms aside, Monster Magnet are one of the few rock bands today trooping onward and keeping rock tasteful and creative. Even though I would have enjoyed the band to keep going with their set and to play more than they had been allowed, Monster Magnet know how to keep their fanbase wanting more and how to give and receive. In twelve albums, it’s just awesome to see a band still giving it their all and not growing (visibly) tired. Sometimes, seeing a band perform music they love is all you need.

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