Monster Magnet – Citizens of the Cosmos
Loyal fans in the US have been waiting more than ten years for the live sounds of the now Ed Mundell-less Monster Magnet once again. Sounds that Aleister Crowley should have been listening to while climbing those mountains, cause the world would be a more peaceful place, maybe, a very different place though.
A Sunday night harvest in downtown Minneapolis with smiles, chills, almost tears of joy, demons and angels, a lot of middle-aged white guys, and of course a dope smell in the men’s bathroom and probably in the women’s too. Not an intimate gathering there at the venue Mill City Nights, unless you were one with your doobie, which you probably always are. Mill City Days does not exist.
I think of and admire Monster Magnet in Jungian terms, as the epitome of wholeness, or, capturing “individuation” for all you psychology geeks out there. A fully integrated rock & roll experience with all good, and all filler. Just notice lone survivor and mastermind of the band Dave Wyndorf’s gear, it’s old and beat in contrast to the rest of the newly acquired member’s stuff. They do retro and future at the same time – ‘70s and 2000s, and everything in between - the usual space rock template.
That most important and now relevant wholeness is best defined by an integration of all aspects of the self, past and present, conscious and unconscious, good and not so good. Psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) wrote, “The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.” And “The unconscious is not just evil by nature, it is also the source of the highest good: not only dark but also light, not only bestial, semi-human, and demonic but superhuman, spiritual, and, in the classical sense of the word, divine.” Monster Magnet embodies all that in their music and lyrics, all the time…………………………infinity……….(I do not know any current, or any former members of the band personally).
Well then, how about Wyndorf’s “effects table?” Controlled by his hands with his back to the audience, like Photoshop filters on a computer – creating atmosphere, the haze, taking the place of a smoke machine and a confusing op-art exploding light show in the dark. But in the beginning it was Wyndorf’s mind that was the most important instrument, his vision. A vision that makes me appoint him the Lou Reed of stoner rock. So, arguably, what Monster Magnet did for the heavy rock genre, is equivalent to what Lou Reed’s band The Velvet Underground did for theirs.
Techniques that night? Every song was well executed, sounded great. There wasn’t any special modernization or extra baggage acquired along the way with those old tunes, except an homage to Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ within the iconic ‘Spine of God’ song. There are still the appropriate space-out-attention-span-freak-out parts, but not overwhelming, and without all the electronics like used in the records after ‘Powertrip,’ records completed after the year 1999.
Casually on the stage, and lyrically, Wyndorf does not seem to care about certainty, a career, a broken string, or any such drama. Maybe because he has a solid backing band that supports and engages in his ways? He has found the planet where that Jungian wholeness within a band works the best, amongst the scientific human - half pig and half chimpanzee?
One thing I do remember vocalist Wyndorf saying was when they came out for an encore - “Hope you guys like space rock” cause this song is eleven minutes long – it was one off of their latest LP ‘Last Patrol.’ ‘Twas right on, hypnotic, deserving of a black light poster, a big one, and you’re only allowed to do one Hawkwind cover in your lifetime anyways, right? And they used that up early in their career with Brainstorm.
I don’t think Monster Magnet “ended up” here. (Holy Grail) There seems to be a mission, a magical universal creation to be discovered somewhere, or like a patrol, a trek through the questionable cosmos with rock & roll as performance, as being real, their purpose and identity through performance – esoterically. So let’s all change our names to “In Search Of,” partially because the rest of one’s life is based off of a first love, right? A conquering?
Anyway, Monster Magnet is still on this plane of existence, for now, and I want to use a word to describe them overall that means the opposite of “destroyers of consciousness,” but I do not know what that is, so, I will end with the idea of gestalt, because Carl Jung would approve and give permission and because Wyndorf and his mystic crew are everything, everybody, all the time.
© Sandi Murphy
Check out the new album ‘Last Patrol’ – out now on Napalm Records.
P.S. I should mention something about the setlist, which had two songs off of the new LP ‘Last Patrol,’ and the rest were from ‘Powertrip’ and before, nothing from the last four records. But buy ‘em all.
Report made by Robert Savela/2013
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