The Palladium-Downstairs, Worcester MA
For more years than they existed, KYUSS is a band that lived in the imagination of their fans. Even though the different members have gone on to other bands like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, FU MANCHU, SLO BURN and MONDO GENRATOR people have never really been satisfied by the mythological status the band has attained. When a chance encounter and jam at a European tour started the juices flowing again between Brant Bjork and John Garcia, the wheels for KYUSS LIVES! started to turn. It is not a an actual reunion, but this is as close as you will get to one for the time being. Still, the anticipation was high to see the participating members and hear these songs many only know as covers by others bands like THE MELVINS or TOOL.
The first band up on this night of heavy was MONSTRO from Atlanta, GA. The band has been one of the most impressive new collectives of late with their free swinging 70′s rock grooves and great songs. Although the band is known for some familiar names in rock and metal circles, it is singer guitarist Charlie Suarez. Charlie has a terrific singing voice, one that is sure to garner him high praise. Playing tracks off of their new self-titled such as “Fantasma”, “Concertina” and “Stallone” the band has an impressive stage show buoyed by bassist Kyle Sanders and Juan Montoya (TORCHE). Montoya ripped off some great leads during their set too. Next up was MILLIGRAM who reunited recently to play a few shows. The band is fronted by Jonah Jenkins (ONLY LIVING WITNESS) and led by guitarist extraordinaire Darryl Shepard (BLACKWOLFGOAT). The band was crushing it big time on a collection of tracks from their career including the standout This Is Class War album. Jonah does what he does best, wail on the vocals and deliver them with classy restraint and soul. The entire band was really great through the extended early set.
THE SWORD was up next in the three-hole in the order and they were primed and ready to tear it up big time. They hit the stage with “How Heavy This Axe” and they were naturally on point and tight sounding too. Buoyed by their new drummer Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III they rocked out as they always have with their perfectly matched sound of stoner jams. JD Cronise sounded great as always with his fine voice and sweet skills on the six-string. Cronise and the entire band are all fine performers and always put on an exciting show. “Tres Brujas” followed and also was a smoking hot track. The middle section/breakdown is a pure 70s throwback groove. Kyle Shutt is also choice with his guitar playing too, shredding solos all over the place. He and Cronise make a terrific tandem sharing several harmony leads and breaks. I was impressed with how professional these relatively young guys approached their spot on the bill, choosing to talk little and let the music speak through them. “Bareal’s Blade” like all of the music from their hit Age of Winters always draws a roar from the crowd. The track is so righteous and soulful it is my favorite song by the band and my favorite of their set. Vela III really crushed the drums on the mighty “Freya” which was impressive to say the least. The song is another of their highlights with crushing grooves and riffs. Plowing through a few more songs they closed out with the epic 1-2 punch of “The Chronomancer II: Nemesis” and “Ebetheron”. It was a great set overall and the band proved again why they are one of the legit great groups of this sub-genre.
How Heavy This Axe
Sea Of Spears
The Chronomancer II: Nemesis
The entire night the opening bands played spartan back lines in the shadow of the massive 1970s motif KYUSS LIVES! banner. It was day-glo as fuck and reminded me of the polyester times of my childhood. I was really beside myself with excitement at the band took the stage one at time. As John Garcia strode out with purpose their was a loud cheer as the multicolored lights shone on the stage. They came on to a short recorded bit of “Spaceship Landing” but really began the set fully with the badassery of “Gardenia”. Garcia was stoic, but pushed almost of his emotions through his vocals with classy form. His beautifully restrained performance added the reverence the music deserves. Perfect. Drummer Brant Bjork with his headband and epic hair were an homage to John Bonham as was his balls out playing the entire show. Even though former guitarist Josh Homme is not participating, he is still a figure that looms large in the hearts and mind of the fans. Still, one must commend the job Bruno Fevery did the entire night, nailing every signature lick and solo flawlessly. “Hurricane” was next and short and sweet. Another top level riff machine of a track. Garcia wailed away on the emotive lyrics and again I was transfixed on him throughout the show. “One Inch Man” and Thumb” brought more intense and smokey grooves highlighted by the bass guitar work of Nick Oliveri. As always he put on an immense show as a performer, just rocking out the entire set. The surpemely trippy “Freedom Run” was next. Sultry guitar licks from Fevery rained down and the track just laid waste to the crowd with its cool heaviness. The band gave thanks to their loyal fans with deep cuts like “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” and ”Odessy”. Other cuts like “50 Million Year Trip” were so cool to finally hear live and my mind was blown. When they played thundering versions of “El Rodeo” and “100°” I thought it was the end of the show since the band was just jamming out and letting it all fly. Garcia was like a modern Jim Morrison, a charismatic conduit for the jammage to unfold.
The band left the stage, but the house lights did not come on for a full five minutes with the fans starting to foam at the mouth. KY-USS! KY-USS! was being chanted by the masses over and over. At last they walked back out and went to their instruments, Garcia to the microphone. Playing a fantastic encore of “Molten Universe”, “Allen’s Wrench” and the ever popular “Green Machine” was a great way to close the night. I was hoping to hear my favorite track, “Demon Cleaner”, but I understood the omission without Homme present. Here’s hoping KYUSS LIVES! keeps this music alive and smoking forever.
One Inch Man
Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop
50 Million Year Trip
By Keith (Keefy) Chachkes