Yes friends, Kyuss have landed in London.
I had been waiting for this weekend for a very long time. I started listening to Kyuss over 10 years ago; after they split up but before their subsequent post-break-up bands had really hit the big time, though Queens of the Stone Age would soon take a step in that direction with their second album, Rated R.
Around then I was really getting into my rock music. From my Dad’s Dire Straits records, to learning electric guitar and picking up my first Hendrix CD, via my brother’s Def Leppard cassettes. I was starting to love rock and metal – Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was all good, but I could feel there was something missing. Some sound that I new must exist but I hadn’t yet heard. It was a bit slower, more groove-heavy with massive guitar riffs, laid back but heavy. And then I discovered a whole new genre…
And that genre was Stoner Rock
Stoner rock, desert rock, call it what you like, this was the music I’d been waiting to hear. Bands like Karma To Burn, QOTSA, Monster Magnet and Kyuss were playing the sounds I’d been hearing in my head. I was discovering new bands every week, helped by articles in Classic Rock Magazine and Kerrang! Kyuss were the band who really introduced this unique sound when they released their album Blues For The Red Sun in 1992. I immediately bought all 3 of their albums that epitomized the desert sound; the aforementioned 1992 album, 1994’s Welcome To Sky Valley and 1995’s …And The Circus Leaves Town.
And I haven’t looked back since. I still listen to a wide range of blues, rock and metal and more, but the stoner sound is still number one for me and I’m constantly discovering new great bands like Los Natas (from Argentina), Graveyard (from Sweden) and Gentlemans Pistols (from Leeds).
Anyway, back to the gig…
So, as you can tell I was pretty excited about this, as were a LOT of other people. A surprising amount too. I didn’t realise so many people knew about Kyuss. These two gigs were both completely sold out (that’s about 5,000 tickets in total). I got there earlyish on the Saturday, arriving just in time to see the final song by first support band Burden. There was hardly anyone here yet, but they sounded great and I arrived early the next day to catch their full set. You can tell they are fans of Kyuss, but their sound is closer to Down.
It started to fill up a little after Burden and it was unusual for a metal gig to see that the majority of people were in their early 30s. Almost exclusively. Very few youngsters, but a surprising amount of girls, which is always nice.
Next up were Bloodcargo from Norway. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed their set, but they weren’t particularly original. In any way. The singer totally wants to be Phil Anselmo. And if you’re ripping off Down, don’t come out wearing your favourite Down t-shirt, showing off your Down tattoo, and copying all of Phil’s moves. Just saying.
Kyuss take to the stage
By the time Kyuss came out to huge applause, screams and cheers, the Forum was heaving. You could feel how excited everyone was, and maybe there was an air of nervousness around, that the band might not live up to the Kyuss name. After all, they haven’t played together properly for years and Josh Homme has been replaced by Bruno Fevery. There was no need to worry. Even as they strode on-stage you could tell this was undoubtedly Kyuss. And as the first chords of Gardenia rang out the whole place erupted into a state of euphoria.
Brant Bjork, who I have always considered the coolest man in
rock the world had some competition from John Garcia this weekend, strutting about the stage in his jacket and dark glasses.
Bruno Fevery’s guitar work more than lived up to the standards set by Josh as they powered through a long set of all the greatest Kyuss songs. The only track missing that I’d really have loved to have heard played on either night was Gloria Lewis.
I was right up at the front on the first night and there was some seriously sweaty moshing going on right behind me. On the second night I stood further back and managed to get this video of Thumb, possibly my favourite Kyuss song. You can see at one point, someone in the crowd throws a Viking helmet onto the stage, which Nick Oliveri picks up and wears for a while:
Halfway through the set we were treated to a special guest to sing Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop – Ben Ward from Orange Goblin. The same happened when John Garcia played at the Electric Ballroom the previous year as Garcia Plays Kyuss, and it was another great moment, seeing the frontman of one of my favourite British bands on stage with one of the all-time classic stoner bands.
Kyuss were amazing, both nights, with a slightly different setlist on the Sunday, with the addition of Allen’s Wrench, Fatso Forgotso and I’m Not as a second encore. And you could really see how much fun they were having on stage and with the reactions of the crowd, with their huge smiles beaming at the audience.
Lets hope the proposed new album materialises and we get more Kyuss shows in the future. It could introduce this great music to a whole new generation of fans.
Kyuss Lives! – London HMV Forum – Saturday April 2nd 2011:
Gardenia / Hurricane / Thumb / One Inch Man / Conan Troutman / Freedom Run / Asteroid / Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop (with Ben Ward from Orange Goblin) / 50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up) / Odyssey / Whitewater / Tangy Zizzle / El Rodeo / 100° /// Spaceship Landing / Green Machine
Kyuss Lives! – London HMV Forum – Sunday April 3rd 2011:
Spaceship Landing / Gardenia / Hurricane / One Inch Man / Thumb / Conan Troutman / Freedom Run / Asteroid / Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop (with Ben Ward from Orange Goblin) / Fatso Forgotso / Tangy Zizzle / Odyssey / Whitewater / El Rodeo / 100° /// Allen’s Wrench / Green Machine /// I’m Not