A very hot, very close day in Manchester led into a very hot and close evening at the sold out Gorilla when Monster Magnet came to play!
Bang on time opening act iPendej0 took to the stage, they’re from Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, but their lyrics are Urban Spanish hence the name. Pendejo, without the i, literally means stupid in Spanish but in the Urban Dictionary it’s a Spanish swear word , the tamer definition being asshole! A five piece with the usual drums, guitar, bass and vocals but this band also have the added bonus of a brass section with a trombone player and frontman El Pastuso (who may or not be Colombian hence the name see here) picking up the trumpet from time to time. Brass is usually an instrument I more closely associate with Brighouse and Rastrick but whilst iPendejO hail from Tulip country this was no Floral Dance. Fuzzed up and heavy, and whilst my knowledge of urban Spanish is none existent, I know Spanish is supposed to be a romantic language but the lyrics and vocal style of iPendij0 didn’t sound very romantic, they had a harder more Germanic feel.
With El Pastuso often holding a hip flask aloft, miming the shape of a woman and singing into the bell of the trumpet he was interesting to watch. He introduced one song as Love and Sloth, and explained it was about the love you have for your mattress, at one point he grabbed his crotch and was indicating lying flat with his hand. After Love and Sloth he told us they had two songs left and that it had been a pleasure to play to a full venue. At the end of their set he thanked us for watching. It was good to see something a little different and a band not singing in English makes a refreshing change.
Time then for a changeover for Table Scraps, which they did with speed. They’re Coming To Take Me Away by Napolean XIV heralded their arrival on stage. Table Scraps are a three piece from Birmingham, just guitar drums and bass, no brass! The backdrop saw the words ‘Coming to take me away’ flash up and they started with the fast, brutal Electricity and some evil sneers from front-man Scott. A slower, darker song came next, before the tempo picked up again and I picked up elements of Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Dandy Warhols and Cheap Tissue throughout the set. TJ on bass was really giving it some with his head, luckily his baseball cap stayed put and Poppy on drums was, not only beating the skins but, adding some harmonised backing vocals, especially for the ‘Oo, oo, oos’ in Bug.
After a round of applause Scott said ‘Thanks very much. This is our last single I’m a Failure make of that what you will’ and with an angry look on his face, and his arm raised they launched into the song. I wondered if it was released on Burger Records. Why? Because TJ was wearing the t-shirt. I did a bit of internet research and found out that their last album Autonomy, and the single were released via Zen Ten. The cassette version of their debut album More Time For Strangers was released in the USA by Weiner Records an offshoot of Burger Records.
When we came to the last song Scott announced ‘We’ve been Table Scraps. Come and meet us after at the merch stand’ and they launched into Motorcyle (Straight to Hell) with a fast drum start, a chugging rhythm and some intricate riffs, and I’m sure I heard a bit of, fellow Birmingham band, Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid worked in. TJ passed his bass guitar out to the audience. Luckily, as it was on a lead, it made it’s way back to be played another day! A final ‘Thanks very much’ from Scott and Table Scraps went off to, a round of applause to tout their wares at the merch table, covered in table scraps! It was, literally, Table Scraps albums, t-shirts etc.
Nicely warmed up, not only thanks to the opening bands but also due to the heat, it was time for the stage to be set for Monster Magnet. I had a look around to see what the audience consisted of, an eclectic mix of band t-shirts from Motörhead, and Five Finger Death Punch to Hooky (although I wasn’t sure if that referred to Peter Hook or the dub star Hooky!) and the Arctic Monkeys and an age range spanning the decades were at Gorilla tonight. Black Sabbath was being played during the change over, which was done quickly and efficiently. No running late here at Gorilla, so it wasn’t a long wait before a backdrop of coloured checks and swirling circles dragged you into a trippy, psychedelic tunnel as the band came on to cheers. I couldn’t quite catch all of Dave Wyndhorf‘s introduction, although he said something about sex then Monster Magnet opened their set with the title track from 1995 album Dopes to Infinity with it’s heavy bass-line and impressive riffage, it put me in mind of Sex Type Thing by Stone Temple Pilots meets Motley Crue’s Dancing on Glass next came three tracks from their latest album Mindfucker, including the title track, and whilst Monster Magnet were not a band who said much between songs Dave explains where they got the album title from here.
What we lost in banter was made up for in the songs, flowing from one great track to another, with Dave expressive, punching the air and encouraging the audience to clap along and Phil Caivano at the front for some intricate riffs. Dave did ask at one point ‘Is it hot Manchester?’ then added ‘Keep on rocking motherfuckers’ and whilst it was hot in the packed venue, the band had the advantage of a fan, which was blowing Dave’s hair in it’s draft. The sound of wind started the mellower Look to Your Orb for the Warning during which Dave was singing to people in the audience, and shaking raised hands. When the Hammer Comes Down another track from Mindfucker had a Black Sabbath feel, with Dave’s voice sounding similar to that of Ozzy Osbourne. Negasonic Teenage Warhead a popular song from Dopes To Infinity.
We then came to the end of the main set and Dave told us that he loved Manchester and said ‘It has been Monster Magnet’s extreme pleasure to be with you in Manchester tonight.’ To gentle strumming Dave asked ‘Brothers and Sisters I beg each and every one of you when I sing the 2 words mother fucker in this song will you sing the two words mother fucker as well?‘ Cheers and raised arms indicated assent. He then added that it would be worth it, as there was nothing better than standing right next to another human sweating their ass of screaming about mother sex! As soon as he started singing the audience joined in and sang along, not just the two words mother fucker but to the whole song which had a Black Sabbath N.I.B. vibe and had people dancing or pumping their arms to the beat. After this one Dave said ‘Thank you. You guys rock‘ and the band left the stage.
Shouts for more, and claps and cheers ensued and as the lights were still off it looked likely that we would get an encore. After a couple of minutes the band came back on and played Ejection the last song from Mindfucker on the set list tonight, a fast one which got a bit of a mosh pit going. The penultimate song End of Time, wasn’t calling time on this gig, that honour went to a song twenty years old, Powertrip, the title track from their 1998 fourth studio album. This proved to be another popular one with the crowd and had more moshing. After which, a final ‘Thank you ladies and gentlemen’ before the band left the stage to the sound of a siren. The lights came back on so we knew it was time to go home.
A good gig with an eclectic mix of bands to suit the eclectic audience. Heading towards their thirtieth anniversary Monster Magnet are still going strong, and with many of the gigs on this tour selling out they, no doubt, have many more Powertrips to come!
Dopes to Infinity
Look to Your Orb for the Warning
When the Hammer Comes Down
Negasonic Teenage Warhead
End of Time
Dave Wyndorf (Vocals)
Ed Mundell (Guitar)
Phil Caivano (Guitar)
Jim Baglino (Bass)
Bob Pantella (Drums)