This past Tuesday (29th Jan), I attended Monster Magnet’s lone UK date of their ‘Mindf****r’ tour at London’s Electric Brixton, a gig that in many ways was 12 years in the making. Their 2007 album ‘4-Way Diablo’ was one of the first albums I ever owned myself, rather than stealing from my dad’s CD collection or a compilation of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 soundtrack. Now, you’d be forgiven in thinking the 13 tracks that comprise ‘4-Way Diablo’, and indeed the wider Monster Magnet discography, are nothing more than self indulgent, over the top and derivative; but it was (and still is) for these reasons that I fell completely in love with the band. Yes, their leather-clad, rockstar schtick might be passé, but it’s entirely self aware and serves as a love letter to a bygone era of the genre. I’d never consider myself a stick in the mud, and I genuinely believe we live in one of the most exciting periods for alternative music in a good long while, but at a time where there’s a few too many ‘Oli Sykes’ types dominating headlines, it can’t hurt to have a few Dave Wyndorfs.Read More
“Since Bruce Springsteen, Madonna. Way before Nirvana. There was U2 and Blondie”. Bowling For Soup of course ended with their biggest hit (a cover of SR-71) to a raucous crowd which were lapping up all the shenanigans which had happened before hand. What shenanigans you ask?
The evening started with Army of Freshman. I was not in attendance for them but from what I heard through muffled doors and walls they were definitely a rock band. The Aquabats! took to the stage after and what I can only describe as one of the most unique and confusing musical performances I have been too.
The Aquabats! had many key moments to their bizarreness, for instance the song “The Shark Fighter!” saw two people dressed as sharks take to the stage and run around whilst throwing inflatable sharks, the song “Pizza Day” saw inflatable pizza thrown into the crowd and then “Super Rad!” saw seemingly every inflatable object they could find and throw it into the crowd. At one point a slightly overweight super villain in a Freddie Mercury costume called “Breaddy Mercury” came onto the stage to throw bread into the crowd and try to injure the people who were “Gluten Intolerant”.
For a Ska band who have a kids television show I was not expecting a lot but The Aquabats! were able to put on a performance which was similar to that of a Pixar film, sure the target audience may be kids but it is of such high quality people of any age can enjoy it as long as you are up for having fun and not taking yourself seriously.
A somewhat blurry photo of Bowling for Soup & The Aquabats!
Bowling for Soup were last on the bill at Brixton and played the Drunk Enough to Dance album in full. Which ultimately meant you could learn all the songs to sing along too if you were so inclined. If you have ever been to a Bowling for Soup show you know the rundownof what is going to happen, mostly songs and jokes. The band have had years to hone their improv skills and it came through on that night, to the point they played three songs in a row without talking to the crowd and jokingly stated “we are now exhausted”. They played D.E.T.D in order from front to back so a song like “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” ended up being third in the setlist. After finishing the album play through they made sure to sprinkle a few other crowd favourites like “The Bitch Song” to make sure that people who were not the hardcore had things to keep them occupied.
The encore consisted of “Ohio (Come Back to Texas)” with Army of Freshman playing the third verse so BFS could see what it’s like to see a band play that song, “Star Song” and the previously mentioned “1985”. For the final song they brought on a Polish fan from the crowd to play guitar because he held up a sign saying he wanted to play the song. It was pretty mental. He did a good job keeping up with the rest of the band whilst Jaret was able to have a rare moment off guitar and peruse the stage.
Overall I would recommend The Aquabats! or Bowling For Soup as a go to gig for any fans of rock or anyone who would just like a good time. Sure it’s never going to be something like a Beethoven piece but it’s there for you to have a good time and party and that’s exactly what “The Get Happy Tour” set out to do.