Kyuss Lives’ performance in Adelaide was their fifth show in seven nights, but the band was showing no signs of fatigue.
Byron Bay support act, Fort, set the bar high for the night, as well as continuing the theme of disbanded bands that have reunited. With influence clearly drawn from Kyuss, it was fitting that Fort would get back together to tour with the stoner rock pioneers they so admire. Although their future as a band remains undecided, their reunion for this tour will see them either retiring (again) on a high, or will have inspired confidence that they have a lot of rock in them yet. Either way, they drew an impressive crowd despite their start early in the evening; no one was let down by their return to form, and vocalist, Andy Walker, likewise expressed the band’s appreciation by repeatedly thanking the crowd.
The four-piece previously known as Kyuss reformed last year as Kyuss Lives! to account for the absence of Josh Homme. But to everyone here, this is still their beloved Kyuss and no one seems particularly perturbed by Homme’s replacement, Bruno Fevery. Moreover, it’s evident from the first guitar solo in the set’s opener, ‘Gardenia’ that Fevery is more than capable of filling some daunting shoes.
Unlike many other artists within the genre, John Garcia’s vocals are quite discernible and see the crowd singing and screaming along with him, particularly during ‘Thumb’ early in the set. Garcia’s interaction with the audience is minimal, with his first spoken words being ‘alright, alright, alright, alright’. However, Garcia does become somewhat more verbose later on, thanking the audience and making mention of the pungent smell of weed emanating from the crowd.
The visibility at the venue is limited, partly because (as with just about any gig at Fowlers Live) the audience is overwhelming male, and partly due to the smoke machines, which add a surreal sense to the ‘rock on’ silhouettes seen amongst the crowd against the stage’s orange light. And this symbol to the band is well deserved with Brant Bjork’s apt and relentless drumming, and Nick Oliveri’s heavy bass providing a perfectly intense rhythm section to Fevery’s guitar. They prove they are far from all rock-ed out, even though Oliveri’s days of onstage nudity are long gone.
‘Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop’ is one of the more poignant examples of just how well these musicians work together, playing the song seamlessly. They are flawless in their combined execution of the end, which consists of short guitar-led bursts with varying intervals of silence between them. In other words, it’s difficult to conceal any errors, but fortunately (though unsurprisingly), Kyuss have no need.
The crowd’s screams mount with the intro to ‘El Rodeo’, as the strobe lights warm up, ready to be indiscriminately cranked with each climbing riff and provide an exciting sort-of-finish to the set. The band re-emerges for an encore, giving the audience their sought after climax and rewarding their persistence with ‘Spaceship Landing’ and ‘Allen’s Wrench’, before coming out once more to finish up the night with ‘Green Machine’.
Kyuss is drawing large and rapt audiences once again, and their ability to attract attendees who were only kids when they disbanded in 1995 is a testament to their legacy. Though some have been waiting and hoping for over a decade for their reunion and return to Australia, Kyuss’s enduring appeal has also garnered them a new bunch of listeners, each looking for that metal-infused stoner rock that Kyuss made their own.
– Dunja Nedic