Wednesday, November 23, 2011

3 LIVE REVIEW: Kyuss Lives at the Showbox

I suppose it’s inevitable that certain cult bands will eventually reunite and tour if the members are still living and there is a big demand, but still in my wildest dreams I never thought I'd ever see the day that the almighty Kyuss returns from the dead to melt faces once again. Last night, right before my very eyes and ears Kyuss Lives ravaged Seattle at the Showbox at the Market, and it was one of the best shows I’ve seen all year.

For those out of the loop Kyuss Lives is a recent incarnation of legendary stoner rock band Kyuss that features original members John Garcia, Nick Oliveri, and Brant Bjork behind the kit, but unfortunately does not include Queens of the Stoneage frontman Josh Homme. The Homme-less Kyuss Lives instead employs the extreme talent of Belgian guitarist Bruno Fevery.

I obviously have no basis of comparison having never seen the original Kyuss is action, but I’m honestly not sure that adding Josh Homme to the mix would have made last night’s show any better musically speaking. Bruno Fevery was amazing and brought the riffs of classic tunes: “Gardenia”, “Thumb”, “El Rodeo”, “One Inch Man”, and above all “Demon Cleaner” to life with fury, meshing perfectly with Oliveri and Bjork’s massive backend.

The biggest thrill of seeing Kyuss Lives personally is finally catching up with John Garcia. Garcia has been one of my favorite vocalists for the longest time and unfortunately the opportunity to see him live has never presented itself until last night. His most recent pre-Kyuss Lives project Hermano has never played Seattle to my knowledge. I celebrate pretty much everything John Garcia has ever done from Unida to Slo-Burn to Hermano to that Crystal Method tune he lent vocals on some years ago.


John Garcia is the man, and last night his voice was every bit as strong as it was on ‘Welcome to Sky Valley”, my favorite Kyuss record. That dude is just a cool cat all around.

It’s always important to note that it’s not often you see a Seattle crowd loose it’s mind at a show, but last night’s capacity crowd did and then some. I’m so anti-big rock show these days but between the energy of the stoked crowd and Kyuss Lives giving it back, the room seemed much smaller than normal and the big rock show annoyances never crossed my mind.

Kyuss Lives was just the cherry on top of this night though. Opening was San Fran’s burly two-piece Black Cobra. If you dig punishing heavy guitar and drums that walks the line between sludge and thrash metal, this Southern Lord Records act will make you very happy. Eugene Oregon’s YOB played three crushing tunes off their newest release “Atma” in their 30 minute set. I still say “The Great Cessation” destroys the new record in every way, but YOB is easily one of the mightiest live bands around and forces every band that follows them step it up a notch. Austin’s The Sword had the dubious honor of being sandwiched between YOB and Kyuss Lives, to which they actually held their own. It was easily the best performance I’ve seen from them since the first time, and had me rethinking my dismissal a bit. You see I have a love hate relationship with this band mainly due to their meteoric rise in popularity despite releasing increasingly polished and accessible records. In 2006, they opened for Early Man at the old Crocodile Café and I flipped my lid. The opening instrumental ‘Celestial Crown” into “Barael’s Blade”, and then closing the set with the brilliant “Iron Swan” had me so stoked to discover a new band that was doing something classic metal-tinged but with a new intensity. They were exciting at first…but after releasing (in my opinion) two lesser quality records all the while becoming one of the biggest names in modern metal, I have to question the sincerity. What seemed so fresh and vital now seems phoned in to me. Sorry The Sword, I still love “Age of Winters” but you had lost me up until last night’s performance…I’ll have to revisit “Gods of the Earth” I suppose.

Kyuss Lives plus The Sword, YOB, and Black Cobra was a treat to say the least. It was Happy Birthday, Merry Fucking Christmas, and a happy ending all rolled into one. Don’t miss this tour if you can help it, but if you do, Kyuss Lives is working on a record (they played two new songs) of new material, and will most likely be on the road again come next year. The rest of the bands tour constantly so no worries there.

Posted by Nik Christofferson


  1. I have had the fortune of seeing Kyuss 2 times prior to the Nov. 22nd show in Seattle. The first was at the Roseland Theater in Portland with Faith No More and Babes in Toyland. This was on the Blues For The Red Sun tour. I was instantly hooked on this band. Their vibe and their sound could not be matched.

    The second time was on the Welcome To Sky Valley tour where they opened up for Ween. This show was at La Luna in Portland. This show was unreal. After Kyuss finished playing I ran outside, not caring to see Ween, and managed to get to hang out with Josh Homme, now of Queens of the Stone Age. While on their tour bus I managed to get Josh to sign a tour poster for me. This was an amazing experience.

    Now fast forward 16 years to Kyuss Lives. I saw that they were back together and on tour. The day I saw tickets I had to have them. BUT WAIT ... VIP you say. Hell yeah. My dreams were coming true. I footed the extra loot for my wife and I to not only get some cool swag (2 shirts, a pick tin with 4 picks, a biker patch, a numbered Lithograph and a laminate) but we got to sit in on soundcheck and do a meet and greet. I made a trip to Palm Desert CA to get my picture taken with the actual sign used for the Welcome To Sky Valley album, so I took that picture as well as the poster from 16 years before to get autographed by the guys. I have to say that John, Brandt, Bruno and Nick are some of the nicest, coolest guys you could ever meet. I was honestly a kid in a candy store and everyone knew it. The band was impressed with both the picture and the poster as were the other 12 people doing the meet and greet.

    Then the show. There isn't much to say. Spot on, driving. I love this band. I went to one other show this year, KISS, and this one ... takes the cake.

    Kyuss Lives!!!



  2. Nik Christofferson's review and Devilman's follow up are absolutely right regarding this show, Kyuss Lives! absolutely owned it Tuesday night. I first saw Kyuss open up for White Zombie in 1992 at Irvine Meadows,CA (when it was still called Irvine Meadows)and was hooked instantly. I was also lucky enough to make a Vegas trip to see Kyuss Lives! on October 7th of this year and I thought THAT show was great, it was nothing in comparison to Tuesday night. The crowd was seriously pumped up and Kyuss fed off of it, it was obvious.

    I do however have to disagree (with all due respect of course) with Nik Christofferson's assessment of "The Sword" I thought they were fantastic at both the Vegas shows and Tuesday night.


    AKA Evil-E

  3. Damn! Thanks for chiming in dudes! Awesome comments, thanks for for sharing.



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