January 20 at Lille Vega
American stoner/space-rock heroes Monster Magnet kicked off their 2014 European tour with a show in Copenhagen, and by choosing a rather small venue such as Lille Vega, added a club-like and almost intimate atmosphere to the concert.
This intimacy between the crowd and the band became even more apparent as the warming-up act, Japanese cult doom-metal band Church of Misery, began their 50-minute set, mesmerizing the public with their slow, swampy songs. Sluggishly oozing from the amplifiers, Sabbath-like guitar riffs filled the place with dark tones. In combination with howling and growling sounds produced by the band’s frontman Hideki Fukasawa, it created a special sonic palette that made the numerous headbangers toss their manes of hair in awe.
When the time came for Monster Magnet to take the stage, the crowd seemingly doubled and the venue became really packed. The band began their 90-minute set by playing their new album The Last Patrol in its entirety. By doing so, the band somewhat surprised some of the fans who expected the psychedelic rock stars to diversify their set more. Despite this, however, the crowd seemed enlivened, singing along to some of the new tunes while sipping their beers. The band’s permanent leader and founder, Dave Wyndorf, seemed a bit worn-out and due to a rather poor sound mix, his vocals were somewhat less audible than the rest of the band’s sound. In addition to singing and playing his black Epiphone guitar, Wyndorf operated a board of sound effects, adding a space-like, warbling tone to the band’s overall psychedelic rock sound.
Completing the main part of the concert, the band stepped offstage for a short break, and while it was clear that they would be back for the encore, the crowd’s response clearly lacked energy and enthusiasm. Nevertheless, emerging again after five or seven minutes, Monster Magnet played four more songs from their earlier albums. They wrapped things up with their biggest hit, ‘Space Lord’, which finally got the crowd fully engaged. Encouraged by Wyndorf, the audience sang along with him at the top of their voices.
Overall, the concert was good – especially for those fans who were at Monster Magnet’s 2011 show at the Lille Vega, and had a chance to compare between the two performances. But long-time fans who never had the chance to see the band playing until Wednesday night must have left a bit disappointed. Playing the latest album in its entirety – especially given the fact that it is not their best effort – is clearly not the best option for a band whose repertoire has a plethora of great old material to choose from. However, the stoner rock veterans still managed to give their true fans a night to remember.