Venue: O2 ABC Academy, Glasgow (04/04/11) It’s safe to say that this was an event of a lifetime, Glasgow’s ABC was packed to the rafters and easily the busiest I’ve ever witnessed there. The Kyuss circus finally rolled back into town after all these years when their cult status has literally exploded. The fact that the whole UK leg of this tour is sold out speaks volumes. It’s also safe to say both support Burden and Blood Cargo wouldn’t be around if wasn’t it for Kyuss’ legendary desert grooves.
I only caught the tail end of German 5-piece Burden’s set but was mightily impressed, with their thick as syrup riffs and frontman Thorsten’s gravelly roar which took on a deeper tone to that of Louis Armstrong’s. Hairy, sweaty and heavier than a rhino, Burden are my type of rock band. They’re not re-inventing the wheel or anything close and their sound is indebted to all the usual subjects (Kyuss, Down, Sabbath, Alice In Chains et al) but they do it very well. They are also featured on Classic Rock’s track of the day at the moment and are well worth checking out.
After and inconspicuous start, Norwegian outfit Blood Cargo hit their stride and soon had the crowd eating out of their hands thanks to, in no small part, their hard-working vocalist who really helped ratchet the atmosphere. Which was no mean feat, as they were only given a paltry 20 minutes to perform as the venue started to fill up with expectant Kyuss fans. Their sound is slightly more typical, taking cues from the likes of Pantera with a more blues-orientated direction. They’re also a band who know how to work a crowd and rock hard, a succinct but thoroughly impressive performance, that gained deserved rapturous applause at the end.
While much has been made of original guitarist Josh Homme’s absence from the Kyuss Lives! reunion, you wouldn’t notice such was the wave of anticipation and excited chatter that swept the venue, just before the band made their entrance via some dramatic, classical music. Launching headfirst in ‘Gardenia’ with its bassline that can clot blood, infectious guitars that snake up your body and exit your hands and legendary frontman John Garcia in fine form, with that bluesy howl of his sounding as potent as on record, the band then raced into the whirlwind of ‘Thumb’ then onto ‘One Inch Man’ in quick succession, pulverizing the crowd with a dense soup of sound.
Performing ‘hit’ after ‘hit’, it’s probably easier to work out what they didn’t play. There was no ‘Demon Cleaner’ or ‘Mondo Generator’, but there was ‘Tangy Zizzle’ with bassist Nick Oliveri looking particularly demented while powering the band on. The epic ‘Whitewater’ and ‘Supa Scoopa and The Mighty Scoop’ both proved this band are as tight as ever with drummer Brant Bjork pummeling us into submission on the latter and stand-in guitarist Bruno Fevery proving to be a more than an able deputy. The highlight, however, was clearly the devastating ‘El Rodeo’, which came complete with manic strobe effects that just about turned the audience into a puddle of mush before segueing into the equally brutal ‘100 Degrees’.
There was no way the crowd were going to let Garcia and the boys leave like that and their demands for an encore were answered with not one but four tracks, including ‘Allen’s Wrench’, which the fans greeted like an old friend . A Kerrang! journalist once famously wrote that Kyuss were ‘worth selling you legs to see‘ and I couldn’t agree more. Thankfully, I was able to keep mine for what is probably the only chance we’ll ever get to see them live, but part of me is hoping that this incarnation keeps together and records some new material — there’s something special brewing in this circus once more. Kyuss Lives!