Sunday 27 March 2016

“Alive and Spaced”: A Live Review of Monster Magnet (March 25, 2016, Tivoli, Utrecht)

By: Victor Van Ommen

When Dave Wyndorf took to the stage last Friday night in Utrecht’s Tivoli, he was smiling. On either side of him stood a guitarist, making for a three pronged attack of the six strings. Behind him was The Atomic Bitchwax’s rhythm section, which was so tight you could bounce a quarter off their grooves. At the feet of these Lords of Space Rock stood a rowdy crowd ready to get their Friday night going. No wonder Dave was smiling.

Crop Circle” opened up the set as people were settling in with the evening’s first beer. Wyndorf stood at the very front of the stage with his foot on the monitor, and sang his heart out. Those in the back or all the way on the balcony were being included in the spectacle. The Space Rock Monster forgot no one. With a twinkle in his eye, Wyndorf assured us that this was going to be a great show.

Powertrip” and “Melt” were played with a sense of authority, coming across as though the band had already been on stage for hours. Monster Magnet didn’t need one or two songs to get their engine warmed up, they were firing on all cylinders from the word go. It was clear this energy was being picked up by the crowd in how we were all in agreement that we were never going to work another goddamned day in our lives and we were going to watch that plastic soul melt!

Superjudge” and “Twin Earth” made for one of the friendliest pits I’ve ever experienced. Those bouncing around were doing so softly, leaving the aggression of a punk rock show at the door. Dave and his cronies weren’t here to fight; they were here to share stories of love, lust and space, which was a frequency we are all tuned in to.

About an hour into the show, the opening riff of “Dopes to Infinity” rang through the hall and made for the highlight of my night. To a video of naked ladies and old school comics on the backdrop and one wild light show, Wyndorf took his favorite spot in front of the stage once again, guitar slung around his neck, crotch out, and belted the beloved lines “we are all here my friends, alive and spaced but oh so beautiful” to a near capacity crowd that hung on Dave’s every word.

There was electricity in the air. The band was burning the brightest it had been all night and the crowd was lit. For a moment like this, there was really no other song fitting to close out the set than “Spacelord.” And that’s exactly what Monster Magnet did. Dave implored us to sing along with his two favorite words in the English language – “mother fucker” – and the crowd obeyed. In fact, the crowd sang along so loud with every word of this classic Magnet tune that the band was barely audible. Monster Magnet then left the stage but the crowd refused to call it a night.

Cooing and cawing ensued, begging – nay, imploring - Dave and his buddies to come back. The band obeyed and returned for a three song encore of “I Want More,”Face Down,” and “Negasonic Teenage Warhead,” before saying good night one final time. The guys left with arms around each other’s shoulders, smiling from ear to ear, and left a satisfied crowd in their wake.

Well done, Monster Magnet. You’ll always be welcome in Utrecht.