TVD Live Shots:
Monster Magnet at
the O2 Forum, 1/24

The first time I saw Monster Magnet was in 1999 in my home town of St. Louis, Missouri. The band was touring in support of their breakout masterpiece Powertrip and Kid Rock was opening the show. I remember thinking that Kid Rock was going to be the next big thing. He was touring in support of this debut for Atlantic Records, and he was brilliant (something I would never end up saying again). I would have never guessed that the opener would surpass the headliner in popularity in this situation as Monster Magnet were at their peak, both commercially and creatively.

The band had finally crafted the perfect, universally appealing single with “Space Lord,” and it dominated rock radio and MTV. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this song. And it was quite a departure from the band’s earlier work, such as the record that introduced me to the group, 1993’s Superjudge. It was about damn time the world took notice of Monster Magnet, and that success was enough to keep the band rolling for another two decades.

Fast forward thirty years and Monster Magnet is on tour celebrating the legacy of Powertrip with a dedicated tour across the UK. It’s hard to believe that main man Dave Wyndorf is 63 years old. He looks great and can still rock with the best of them.

Unlike most bands who play their celebrated album in its entirety, Monster Magnet is taking a slightly different approach. I was told by a friend of the band that playing the songs as they appear in order on the original record doesn’t work for a live show. So ten of the thirteen songs from Powertrip mark a celebration of the album instead of playing it from start to finish—and it worked beautifully. An extended version of “Space Lord” closed out the set in epic fashion, and the crowd responded accordingly.

For the encore, they seem to be switching out “Twin Earth” and “Dopes to Infinity” every other night. My only complaint is that I didn’t hear both, but was pleasantly surprised to hear “Twin Earth” played at all. They also threw in a cover of Hawkwind legend, Robert Calvert’s “The Right Stuff” which gives the crowd a taste of where the band’s influences originate, especially with the last few records moving much more into this space rather than the polished over produced gems of the ’90s and early 2000s.

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