Normally when I photograph a gig I’m concentrating on the photography, it was a pleasure to leave the camera at home and just enjoy a killer rock show, so much so I felt inspired to write up a review.
On March 27 1993 I headed along to the Sydney Entertainment Centre to see Metallica – luckily I got there early to witness a band I’d never heard of called Kyuss. The heavy groove and wall of sound they produced was one of those concert experiences that left an indelible mark on my musical psyche. So it was with great anticipation that I headed along to The Palace Theatre to see Kyuss Lives! a project featuring three members of Kyuss; John Garcia on vocals, Nick Oliveri on bass, Brant Bjork on drums and Bruno Fevery who was drafted to fill the shoes of Josh Homme on guitar.
First up were the boys from Byron Bay, Fort, who did a pretty impressive job keeping the crowd entertained with their heavy riff-rock. Following Fort the sounds of Jethro Tull filled the theatre before a quick drum, guitar and bass sound-check where it became apparent this was going to be one hell of a loud show.
The lights dimmed, Holst’s Mars, God of War started to blast from the speakers, the rich aroma of marijuana smoke filled the air and then the packed house erupted in a massive cheer as flashing lights lit up to reveal Brant Bjork pummelling out the drum intro of Spaceship Landing before Oliveri’s bass and Bruno’s guitar thundered in.
What followed was more than 100 minutes of intense, heavy, groove, riff-rock.
The rhythm section of Oliveri and Bjork was a mighty thing to behold, equal parts poise and slamming power that hit right in the middle of the chest, Bruno Fevery showed himself to be a master on guitar, the tone he extracted from his Les Paul and three Marshall amps was silky smooth; he and Oliver proved to be great foils playing off each other when things stretched out into long jam territory. Then we had John Garcia, whose voice has lost nothing in the last 18 years.
Things really kicked in on the third song Hurricane, the crowd started to sing every word, this continued through with One Inch Man and Thumb and pretty much the rest of the set. Standouts from the main set were the spaced-out jam of Asteroid that just built and built to a massive climax, Whitewater was stellar as was the killer riffage of set closer 100 Degrees. See full setlist below.
The band left the stage but soon emerged to launch into a scorching Molten Universe followed by 50 Million Year Trip and Allen’s Wrench. The band then headed offstage once more but were lured back by the whole crowd chanting “Kyuss! Kyuss! Kyuss!” before launching into a monstrous version of the Kyuss anthem Green Machine, talk about leaving the best ‘til last!
Kyuss are a groove band, a fucking heavy groove band but it’s that groove that gives them their awesome power. It was a show about the music, the music did the talking; there was little crowd banter apart from John Garcia commenting on how great it was to be back in Australia, introducing the rest of the band and during the encore giving a quick plug for sponsor Quick Silver.
Overall it was an exceptional rock show; you’ll be hard-pressed to see better this year. I just hope I don’t have to wait another 18 years to witness the power of Kyuss again.
One Inch Man
50 Million Year Trip