It’s been awhile since the stoner metal gods of Monster Magnet came around, and even longer since they properly toured the US. That only made last night’s show in New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom all the sweeter as longtime fans basked in the heavy metal insanity of frontman Dave Wyndorf and his band.
Monster Magnet has spent most of the past decade in obscurity, releasing albums but doing very little touring in the US due to weak ticket sales and fickle audiences, according Dave who personally explained it to me in an interview this past fall (read it here). But newest record Mastermind has some smoking hot tracks and with the band set to head off to Australia soon, the Redbank, NJ-based group threw down for a one-off local show before heading across the world, much as they did back in 2009 (my review here).
Fans packed the floor of Starland, which boasts large bars and plenty of standing space, though those perks were perhaps offset by $6 parking and a location that could only be described as as isolated as somewhere in New Jersey can possibly get. Monster Magnet took the stage a little after 10:30, Wyndorf flanked by the newest lineup of his band on either side as he bellowed in his microphone.
The night’s setlist was a carefully chosen mix of old favorites and newer songs, with classics like Tractor, Dopes to Infinity and Medicine flanking new Mastermind singles Hallucination Bomb and Dig That Hole. Watch my video of new song Gods & Punks to the left of this page as well. Especially enjoyable was a rare performance of Look To Your Orb For The Warning, possibly one of Monster Magnet’s slowest, yet heaviest songs.
Dave Wyndorf is an outgoing frontman, but spoke very little between songs. Rather, the man generated an unmatchable intensity as he bombed about the stage, practically punching his low-slung guitar when he was wasn’t hollering about space holes and drug farms. Starland’s sound system is one of the loudest in the region, and the booming power chords and crushing basslines and drums were deafening at times, which, of course, is as it should be at a rock concert.
While Wyndorf crooned, sang, and roared into the lead microphone, his band was as much a part of the show, frequently jamming out as Wyndorf fiddled with electronic effects at the back of the stage. Fans on the floor sang and danced, even breaking out into a small mosh pit of unbridled enthusiasm during the climactic Space Lord. Chants of “Magnet! Magnet!” proved that years of inactivity have in no way diminished the intense love fans have for this band.
The group wrapped up with a four song encore including Crop Circle and Powertrip, two of the hits off of the Powertrip record which saw fans again singing along to every single word. To say the hometown crowd was appreciative would be an understatement; to say they were slobberingly adoring would be rude, but either way Monster Magnet not only made themselves at home in the Starland venue, but they were voraciously welcomed by the New Jersey faithful for a long overdue performance.
With Mastermind getting rave reviews and the band clearly in top playing form, we can only hope that Dave and company decides to schedule a full US tour once they return stateside, because Monster Magnet is a band that excels both live and in-studio. Rest assured that as soon as new dates are announced, the Hard Rock Examiner will report on them – As always, stay tuned for further information on tickets and all local rock and heavy metal news by subscribing at the top of this page, or follow me at twitter.com/NYROCKEXAMINER.