Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Musical Grab-bag: Monster Magnet, Porcupine Tree and – yes! – Eggnog!

Just the time of year, I guess, in which the gigs come thick and fast and strange . Different bands and different sounds make different blends of thought and aesthetic sensation swirl through the brain like the fumes of incense, flowers, and, uh, warm vinyl.

Monster Magnet + Karma 2 Burn + Lions
Monster Magnet hit the stage at the Glasgow Garage on Monday 7th December, and man, it was a sound for sore ears. They were meant to tour Europe back in ’06 but had to cancel cos of lead singer Dave Wyndorf’s, er, painkiller prob. But here they are, Wyndorf looking a little heavier, but they stormed into the first explosive number and just cranked it up over the whole night. I last saw them at the QM in 2004 (with brilliant support bands The Quill and Gluecifer), and they were utterly awesome; on Monday they were actually better. There was a definite sense that they felt they had something to prove, and they gave it their all – also, there was a very good, very intense vibe to the crowd, as if they were willing the band to pull out all the stops. Faves from Powertrip included Crop Circle, Powertrip, Spacelord (which reached near-overmind heights of mass-crowd singalong unity), and Tractor, as well as stuff from Dopes To Infinity, Spine of God and Monolithic – the track Spine of God was stunning. Quite simply a 10/10 night, made all the sweeter by the knowledge that the band has just signed a new recording contract and that they go into the studio in January to record a new album.
Porcupine Tree + North Atlantic Oscillation
To the O2-ABC on Sauchiehall St last night (the 11th), to see the now-mighty Porupine Tree showcasing their latest opus, THE INCIDENT. Odd experience, the gig was – the new CD was actually the 1st PTree album which failed to hold my attention, despite having bought it new from Play.com on release. I was hoping that hearing most of it live would change my mind but sadly I still feel un-energised by it. The band played all of the 1st cd, the big conceptual Incident song as the 1st half of the concert, then for the 2nd played a variety of tunes from previous albums, and that was when the gig really came to life for me. Some utterly stunning performances then, from albums Sky Moves Sideways right up to Fear of a Blank Planet, finishing with a rousing Trains. I still haven’t figured out why Incident doesn’t speak to me; one theory is that I have grown used to certain elements of the PTree style, and that the inner landscape/personal trauma subject matter has likewise become over-familiar, in that quite a few North European bands focus on it (also, I felt a certain commonality with Dream Theater’s Scenes From A Memory, although there was much more of a mysterious narrative in that than I got from The Incident).
Support band North Atlantic Oscillation (not Engineers) should get a mention – missed the first coupla numbers, but what I did hear was very good indeed, kinda prog/shoegazery/psyche; they have an EP called Call Signs out from KScope (PTree’s label), and their new album, Grappling Hooks, is due out in March.
Eggnog – The Three
This is an album review, provoked by its sheer quality, which is playing even as I write this (AND I haven’t even listened to the end yet, its that good). Listening to the first coupla songs you`d think that these guys were channelling Black Sabbath circa Paranoid – talk about an earthshaking, epic bass and rhythm, tied together with clear and expressive vocals pitched at below the mid-range. One reviewer said it was like a Sabbath-Alice In Chains hybrid, and I can see why. This is an album released by the band themselves, a criminal shame since this is excellent heavy, heavy, doomy rock with metal overtones paced generally slower than average midpace rock (and some numbers a bit slower still), so its not a galloping racer from the Iron Maiden stable, rather an inexorable juggernaut of bluesy doom. To find out more and sample the band’s output, try their myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/eggnoggband.

Be ready for an extended period of doomification!

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Other Posts of Potential Interest:

  1. Paradise Lost + Katatonia + Engel, King Tuts, Glasgow 30/10/09
  2. Hawkwind at Glasgow Carling Academy, December 4th
  3. Rat Salad: Black Sabbath, The Classic Years 69-75, by Paul Wilkinson
  4. Paradise Lost: Masters Of Disquieting Metal
  5. Pallas + Abel Ganz, The Ferry, Glasgow 9/10/09

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