From playing drug-fuelled generator parties in the Californian desert to sharing the stage with the likes of Metallica, Kyuss are a band from the early ‘90s too frequently overlooked.
From playing drug-fuelled generator parties in the Californian desert to sharing the stage with the likes of Metallica, Kyuss are a band from the early ‘90s too frequently overlooked. Now, as then, they have more of a cult following – a band held dear to those ‘in the know’. Kyuss may not have invented the down-tuned, ‘70s-style, chunky, riff-fuzz groove – but they certainly mastered it, a sound which many others have since imitated. Their legacy has prevailed in the many hydra-heads that have sprouted since the original beast split in 1994.
Its members have gone on to play in bands such as Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, Mondo Generator, Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork And The Bros, Che, Queens Of The Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal and Them Crooked Vultures. Not to mention the countless other side projects and cameos. Other Kyuss members Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork had joined in for some shows on the European tour – with just guitarist Josh Homme missing to make a full reunion. Apparently he was too busy with QOTSA and Them Crooked Vultures. Tonight it was just Garcia and a backing band of handpicked musicians, but it was still very exciting to have the opportunity to see the Kyuss catalogue performed live.
The small room was filled with a few hundred punters of mostly older, long-haired stoner types – some of whom had travelled from Germany and Scandinavia. Garcia hit the stage with his trademark cool swagger, swaying long hair and black sunglasses – he took to the microphone side on as if seducing it. His voice was as raw and commanding as ever, and the grooves deep and timeless. Many stood with eyes closed, lost in the distortion and subterranean bass tones of songs like Spaceship Landing, El Rodeo and Gardenia – which Garcia announced was written by ex-Kyuss drummer “Brother Brant”.
Others drove their bodies hard to the stomping beats of faster tracks like 100° and the mighty Green Machine. “Alright?” Garcia asked and the crowd agreed with a rowdy cheer. He was in a jolly mood and often improvised lyrics as the band jammed out on songs like Demon Cleaner. They finished with Slo Burn number Pilot The Dune. I was later told by their manager that it was the longest set of their European tour in the most intimate room. Garcia stuck around to do signings and photos for fans, rounding off a very special evening. There was mention of touring Australia in 2011…