Mounds of sweat-drenched hair and bodies wedged together. Security guards acting as DEA to alleviate the smoky stench beginning to permeate Terminal 5. You’ll be warned, but you won’t get kicked out. This was MonstrO, The Sword and Kyuss Lives! Friday night. A cluster of stoner rock at its finest, the venue rumbled from the moment openers MonstrO hit the stage. Headliners, the newly reformed Kyuss Lives! weren’t due out for another two hours, but the Atlanta foursome heated things up.
Composed of former Bloodsimple drummer and bassist, Bevan Davies and Kyle Sanders, respectively, Torche guitarist Juan Montoya and vocalist Charlie Suarez, the band just played their first show last April setting the evening in some sort of live, chronological order. “We are here with the mighty Sword and Kyuss,” said Suarez taking in the audience roar. “I feel ya.” Playing their self-titled debut almost in its entirety, singer Suarez clearly resonated Andrew Stockdale vocals in MonstrO power flashes like intro “Fantasma” before picking up the velocity with an homage to the mighty Sylvester in “Stallone” and thunderous closer “Helios.” Even as openers, MonstrO held their own among the mighty.
Still riding off their third studio album, 2010’s Warp Riders, The Sword plodded on. Currently on their North American tour with Kyuss, the band with singer J.D. Cronise in a RUSH T-shirt, defiantly made the audience head bang in unison as they do so well. The band marched through mostly Riders tracks like “Arrows in the Dark” and “Night City” and more crunch from ’06 debut Age of Winters (“Freya,” Barael’s Blade”). Following their six-song set, it didn’t seem long before the main act was on. A night of lenghty sets, time was of the essence.
The last time Kyuss played together was in Italy in 1995, but their final New York show was one year earlier at the Roseland Ballroom. A homecoming of sorts, Kyuss, now holding a surname “Lives!” following a nearly 20-year hiatus, pulled out everything passed down since the earlu Kyuss days with “The Law” from debut Wretch and tracks from their final album appropriately titled for the time …and the Circus Leaves Town. Like desert metal deities, their psychedelic grooves made the sweat drip faster inside the packed venue. Original members John Garcia, drummer Brant Bjork, a Ramones-tee-clad Nick Oliveri and the addition of Belgian guitarist Bruno Fevery (replacing Oliveri’s band mate by another, Queens of the Stone Age, original Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme.) Everything was touched, even a lengthy “Gardenia” from 1994’ Welcome to Sky Valley and more from 1995’s Town like “Hurricane,” “One Inch Man” and “Spaceship Landing.” A breathless Garcia, who spoke little throughout the band’s lengthy set, could only mutter the word “Alright” halfway into their encore. (When you have songs as long as Kyuss’, any encore is just another mini set.) Newly reborn, there’s more. The band is currently working on a new album for 2012.
Kyuss lives, indeed.