Monster Magnet play ‘Spine of God’ live in London

Monster Magnet,
23rd November
Electric Ballroom
Camden, London.

It’s extremely rare these days to discover an album of this magnitude. Monster Magnet‘s ‘Spine of God‘ was, and still is, one of the very best stoner rock records ever made. When this dropped back in 1991, it blew everything else out of the water. This album, made up of the most potent, acid-tinged, psychedelic rock, is so strong, and so deep, that it will forever live in the top 5 albums ever made in my book. No other album released since could push it down the pecking order. Not even QOTSA. You can argue amongst yourselves on this one, but i’m sticking to my guns. This album is fucking blazing and the OG since Sabbath.

davewyndorf_monstermagnet

Tonight, singer/guitarist Dave Wyndorf and his current band mates have traveled to London to drop an atomic bomb on a sold out Electric Ballroom. Now 56 years of age and looking the best he has done for years, he takes to the stage to unleash Monster Magnet’s debut album ‘Spine of God’ in its entirety and tells the crowd that he has come only to give all to the “emotional”. As a result, his worshippers give him everything as the band leap into the awesome, spiralling drum roll of ‘Pill Shovel’, one of the truly great album intro’s of all time.

The riffs that follow make a sea of heads nod as the deep, dark crunch of sludge is served up like a tsunami. This is hotknife material that you are fucking with here. The very best airplane toke you ever rose for. This show is for the microdot you lost under your fridge in 1992, the lump of hash you dropped at a festival that was never found. The first ever line of coke you blew onto the carpet in front of a room full of drug dealing Hells Angels. None of this is fiction. This is reality, and this, is the soundtrack of our lives.

Wyndorf’s voice is spot on. As he delivers the intro to ‘Medicine’ with the lyrics “Place the stones in the circle of twelve” we could feel the pre-empted anxiety from everybody around us, all ready to explode from the atomic pounding that was unleashed from the opening riff of this beast of a tune. His evil screams sent shivers down every spine in the house before the epic crescendo burst its banks and made way for that one and only “whoooooooooooooooooshhhhhhh, ……..” as the head rush from the needle point of ‘Nod Scene’ slowmo’d through veins and crashed gently into a mulch of psychedelic bliss. By this point, minds had gone all over the venue. This is the best fucking experience EVER! “Screw you if you think I care!”.

The evil riffs of ‘Black Mastermind’ bring the zodiac levels up to full capacity once again. Air guitar strings are snapping all over the fucking venue as people lose their minds from an overdose of space rock. After a nine-minute jam of frenzied guitar solo’s, Zodiac Lung sees Wyndorf turn from jamming into the drums to fronting classic lyrics: “When I die, It will be cos of you:. “It’s fuck up’s like you, that never seem to die.” I guess he seems pretty thankful he is still alive at all, after a lifetime of drug fueled touring, breakdowns, prescription drugs overdoses and personal trauma, Wyndorf has lived to tell the tale. At the end of set following ‘Spine Of God’, ‘Snake Dance’, ‘Sin’s a Good man’s Brother’ and ‘Ozium’, he apologises to the audience for not writing a longer album. Just like on record, the only way to get over ending this masterpiece is to press play on the first track again, but sadly, this is not possible live. So once the band have a well earnt breather, they return for an insanely good version of ‘Lord 13’ from ‘Tab’. This is where everything changed.

As ‘Traktor’ delivered its laughing pill, Wyndorf moved away from the mic by 4 feet but the vocals rang out through the PA perfectly. I had to ask my buddy next to me for re-assurance, who to my surprise, saw the exact same thing. We looked at each other with jaws open-mouthed. Is Dave Wyndorf fucking actually singing or what?! Is a tape of his vocals playing throughout the entire show? Is it just some helpful backing track for certain parts he can no longer reach? It turns out that the sound man controls a lot of the reverb on his vocals, so that’s that cleared up.

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I came here to melt, to indulge, to reminisce, to appraise, to be electrified, and thankfully, I was rewarded with all of the above. So thank you Monster Magnet, for delivering the best gig you have played since we saw you at the Windsor Old Trout on the 4th of September back in ’92, and the Underworld show a day later. It’s a Satanic drug thing…..you wouldn’t understand.

Zac

Don Broco live at Electric Ballroom, London

Don Broco
Electric Ballroom, London
11th October 2012

‘This has been the one date on the tour we’ve been most looking forward to,’ frontman Rob Damiani cheekily tells the sold out venue. Anyone would think this was their show and everyone was here to see them. But in actual fact they’re just on a support slot to their good friends Lower Than Atlantis.

Not even half way through opening song ‘Priorities’ and Rob takes the lead to begin their distinguishable routine of ‘The Walk’, which see’s three of the members walk in unison on the spot. There’s something convivial about their practiced dance routines. And before you know it the majority of the 1100 people here tonight seem to be in a festival mood, singing back every lyric on their pals’ shoulders. It’s a scene to remember.

Future single ‘Hold On’ is well received and if the boys ever had doubts previously, tonight they have certainly got their foot in the door and one day managing pop-punk-world-domination wouldn’t shock us.

Of course though, it wouldn’t be a Don Broco performance without ‘Thug Workout’. Almost four years since its release the much heavier track calls the shots, enticing fans to get to the centre of the floor and simply, work out.

One thing Don Broco definitely are not short is being strangely entertaining. Playing ‘Whole Truth’ off their recently released first full length album, the performance is built around an abundance of sheer fun and a solid good hook which everyone takes a massive liking too. They excel at delivering an unpredictable energy that nobody would expect from a pop rock band, truly deserving a pat on the back.

Red faced, sweaty palms and a dose of adrenaline does not make the four-piece relinquish just yet as they go out with a bang with ‘Actors’. Sure, sometimes they may behave and look like a boy band but they’re making a name for themselves the right way with their fans ranging from young teens to those experiencing adult life; Don Broco have the ability to engage with every single one of the audience.

Expect to see much, much more of Don Broco.

Words: Jenny Chu

Of Mice and Men Live at Electric Ballroom, Camden

OF MICE AND MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets

Electric Ballroom, Camden
10th October 2012

After selling out way in advance and with a queue lapping the outside of Camden’s Electric Ballroom, you know for a fact tonight’s show is going to be crazy. From an all-American line-up, Secrets are first to take to the stage. They are the perfect warm up act for this sort of audience, plenty of sub-drops and head bangs get the party off to a fine start.

When Memphis May Fire roar into action its clear that many of the Of Mice & Men fans here tonight are also deeply entwined in a love affair with this band. A vast majority of the crowd go wild. Considering Memphis May Fire aren’t headlining the response they get is very impressive. The room jumps as one to the bouncing riffs, with ‘The Sinner’ uniting the band and crowd in a mass sing along.

Before the show, Matty Mulllins discussed with Crossfire what he feels makes a great frontman, and with this performance he definitely put into practice what he preached; lunging across the stage and fully engaging the audience like the pro he is.

Secrets were impressive, Memphis May Fire took that up a level, but Of Mice & Men are just in a league of their own. Valentino Arteaga is a machine behind the kit. Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala create dirty, dirty riffs which entice permanent pits. Aaron Pauley takes care of clean vocals and finds near vocal perfection whilst pulverising filthy baselines that penetrate ear drums in the most heavy of fashions.

Austin Carlile has the audience in the palm of his hand. There are few frontmen that can work a crowd to this level but it’s not just his showmanship that is impressive, his vocal ability is superb. Holding growls for as long as he can then charging around the stage is no easy task.

With ‘The Flood’ and ‘The Depths’ (bonus tracks taken from the recent reissue of their 2011 release) causing just as much carnage as old favourites its becoming ever more obvious that Of Mice & Men are a dominant force in modern metalcore. No longer will they be playing club shows, surely the next step will be Academy shows. If their success back in America is anything to go by, a UK arena tour in the future isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. Tonight was hands down one of the best shows of the year.

Words & Photos: Emma Wallace

Yelawolf and Doomtree live at the Electric Ballroom

Doomtree14th May 2012

London

Whilst many of the fans inside London’s Electric Ballroom may have been waiting for Alabama’s finest, Yelawolf, a good portion of them were there for the support, the Minnesotan crew Doomtree, who were making their UK debut. Being a support act isn’t easy at the best of times, but with a large crowd in front of them, it was going to take something special to get the atmosphere going and a frenzy whipped up, but within one song, the seven-strong crew had done just that.

With Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak in the back manning the decks and live drums, the five MCs bounced around on stage, each taking their turn to showcase their talent at the fore, getting hands raised, fists pumping and wings-and-teeth handsigns well and truly taking over the crowd. From old favourites like Slow Burn to brand new tracks from their latest crew album No Kings like Little Mercy, Bolt Cutter and No Way, the energy levels never dipped below 100% and many, many new fans were made.

When they dropped their aptly titled banger Bangarang, it was game over for any cynics. The beats bumped and the rappers were fully on point. POS and Mictlan in their ripped denim and leather, Cecil in his understated yet devastatingly smooth steez, Dessa with her singing and rapping that simply demanded attention for all and Sims who bounced around and told the crowd who they were watching and loving, all combined to prove just why they are such an exciting proposition and even POS’ new track Get Down, which no-one had heard before, had the entire crowd going nuts to a bonafide club smasher.

Yelawolf may have had his name on the ticket, but it was Doomtree that took over the show. Now we just need them back for a headline show.

Abjekt

Crossfire to curate Electric Ballroom at Camden Crawl

The initial line up of curators and opening, guest act have been announced today for this year’s Camden Crawl 2012. The North London festival has invited us back for the 3rd year running to curate one of the venues on the Crawl so we are proud to announce that we will be hosting bands and more at the Electric Ballroom this year all day on Saturday, 5th May.

Enjoy the initial line up from the announcement made this morning with Death In Vegas (Richard Fearless) opening the event. We will give you more information of who will be playing live and other fun stuff we will have planned for the Crawl this year soon as the process of elimination takes place. We will also be aiming to have a party in the evening after the daytime event, so look out for updates as they roll out.

Get your tickets in advance before this prestigious event sells out now from here. You can follow all of the updates through Facebook and Twitter.

camden_crawl_2012_line_up