Friday, October 7, 2011

Concert Review: Kyuss Lives!, the Sword and MonstrO at Marquee Theatre 10/6/2011

John Garcia of Kyuss Lives! performing at the Marquee Theatre on 10/6/2011
Last night's Kyuss Lives! show in Tempe might not have been a sellout, but those who showed up were treated to a smorgasbord of stoner rock that showcased the resilient genre's past, present and future. The Marquee Theatre was only about half-full, but the relatively sparse crowd was enthusiastic and receptive. These folks were stoner rock die-hards. Case in point: about halfway through Kyuss's set, I leaned over to a chick standing near me and asked her what she thought so far. "My son's middle name is 'Kyuss,'" she shouted back, which simultaneously relayed both her enthusiasm for the show and her desire to not get hit on in the middle of it. Touché.

After a forgettable performance by some local band whose name escapes me, Atlanta's MonstrO kicked off the evening with a 30-minute set of Southern rock-tinged metal. I hadn't heard the band prior to their set last night, but they certainly fit in well on this bill. It might be a stretch to call them the future of stoner rock, but they showed great potential last night and seem like a band with a bright future.

J.D. Cronise of the Sword
The present was well represented by the Sword. It seems like only yesterday that the stoner rock community was divided over this Austin quartet's 2006 debut album, Age of Winters. Purists denounced them as hipsters cashing in on a trendy sound (because we all know how lucrative a genre like stoner metal is, right?), while others simply appreciated their retro riffs and Sabbath-y grooves at face value. Five years and two more albums later, the Sword could arguably be called the reigning kings of stoner rock. Not too many folks are questioning their legitimacy these days, and their performance last night should've erased any lingering doubt. The band's 45-minute set included early songs ("Freya") and tracks from their latest sci-fi opus Warp Riders ("Night City").

Kyuss Lives!
As good as the Sword was, last night ultimately belonged to Kyuss, who took the stage shortly after 10 p.m. and reminded everyone who started this whole stoner rock movement in the first place. OK, well technically, Black Sabbath started it, but Kyuss brought it back to life in the early '90s. Vocalist John Garcia's voice sounds as good as it did nearly 20 years ago on Blues for the Red Sun, and the rhythm section of bassist Nick Oliveri and drummer Brant Bjork is still as formidable as ever. The only original member missing on this reunion tour is guitarist Josh Homme (presumably too busy writing the next mediocre Queens of the Stone Age album), but Bruno Fevery has stepped in and the band sounds no worse for it.

Kyuss's 90-minute set featured tracks from throughout their career, including "Gardenia," "Hurricane," "One Inch Man," "Thumb," Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop," "100°" and "Green Machine," among others. It's a shame so many people missed the opportunity to see such an influential band make their triumphant return, but the ones who did were rewarded for it. If rumors of a new album ultimately prove to be true, last night's show was a good indicator that it should be badass. Of course, it'd be fantastic if they could get Homme back on board as well, but the current lineup is already more than capable. Welcome back, fellas. You've been missed.

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