at Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway, February 6, 2004

You don’t have the same expectations to Monster Magnet as a live band as you have to most other bands. Don’t get me wrong, but Monster Magnet is not that kind of band that gets interesting live because of musical skills within the band. Monster Magnet is first and foremost David Wyndorf. And Dave Wyndorf is more a vocalist then a singer, if you get what I mean, and the music is only a part of the package.

Wyndorf’s band mates, old and brand new members, sure know their stuff, but to justify the audience’s ticket expenses, Monster Magnet need to do more than just play songs. They have a set of great songs, but why go to hear them played live?

In Disney / Pixar’s animated movie Monsters, Inc. the monsters need to charge batteries with the energy from small children’s screams to be able to keep their city alive. So the monsters are working hard on making the kids scream. Dave Wyndorf and his Monster Magnet are in the same position. They need to put on a show that makes you want to scream to make the engine run. And this is Dave Wyndorf’s job.

Did he succeed? Wyndorf was working hard, very hard. He stole the spotlight from the rest of the band, who became like extras on the set. He ran around a lot, and did dozens of rock and roll poses pr. minute. And consider; he’s been around for a while, he is not young anymore. He is close to hair dyeing age, if not there already, and this is a guy who has worn out more than one pair of black leather pants. Still he gave everything he’d got.

Picking “Bummer”, “Tractor” and “Powertrip” as three of the set’s first songs, the Powertrip album was highly represented. And the title track was a highlight. Five of the songs from the new Monolithic Baby! album had found their way to the set list. Of these they could have left “Supercruel” out. Wyndorf struggled with his vocals on “Unbroken”, and an instrumental part in “Radiation Day” sounded awful, but still these new tracks grooved and rocked. “Monolithic” was one of the evening’s best performances, with a big bass and a heavy riffing.

“Melt”, from the God Says No album, was the strongest number of them all on this sold out evening. Everything worked perfect on that one. Some might have missed more songs from Monster Magnet’s earliest recordings, but I question why not more tracks from God Says No were chosen.

Even though Dave Wyndorf is credited with guitar contributions on the albums, he does not touch a lot of instruments on the stage. Still, from time to time Wyndorf picked up a guitar. That made three guitarists, which were more than necessary to perform these songs. The third guitar, strapped around Dave, did more for his stage personality then it did to the music. To the music it just added rumble. However, rumbling is a part of the deal here, and, while we’re at it; the way they crash land songs live sounded so much more right than what it does on their albums.

The main set ended with “Spacelord”, a song which has to be Monster Magnet’s strongest sing along number. This could have been a good way to finish the whole thing. But Dave & co came back to do two encores, not to leave the crowd hungry…

First encore was “The Right Stuff ” by Captain Lockheed and The Starfighters. Yep, the one with the great chorus. Then they started out with a version of Spin Of God, that lasted for 20 minutes. During these minutes I witnessed a hopeless attempt on Let’s-make-a-spectacular- rock-and-roll-show-closure! The plan was to burn a guitar… I’ve seen blues musicians do this more rock and roll that what Wyndorf managed to do. ( …Yes, I am talking about Eric Sardinas. ) Listen, Dave Wyndorf appeared with a padded “guitar”. No strings or buttons, just some piece of wood with the shape of a guitar. He put on a security glove and lit the gas soaked “instrument”. Then Dave waved the thing around and ran back and forth with it. Could have been cool, but it was so embarrassing controlled!

When Dave was finish with the posing he put the guitar down on a fireproof carpet, and a guy ran to it and put out the flames with a wet towel. What was this about? Rock and roll? No, it was way too controlled for that. Way too arranged. The intentions were to make a big final blast, but it looked like a magician doing the pulling-a-rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick without covering the room inside the table where the rabbit is. So the show was all just fake, then?


Unbroken (Hotel Baby)
Dinosaur Vacume
Zodiac Lung
Radiation Day
Negasonic Teenage Warhead

The Rights Stuff
Spine Of God

Link to album review: Monolithic Baby!


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