Sunday, March 1, 2009

Brant Bjork and the Bros at Al's Bar

Whenever a well renowned international rock act comes to Christchurch one would expect them to be perform in the town hall, Westpac or some other decent venue. However, what would be the case for the more underground rock acts of the, say, Palm Desert stoner era? Al's Bar is the only choice; a bar that holds local and underground live rock true to its gritty young heart and intimate atmosphere. And what better underground act than the legendary Brant Bjork who made his name as the stickman for desert/stoner rock pioneers Kyuss (the members of whom included Josh Homme).

Arrivingto the gig after a few late beers and an even later bus this reviewer unfortunately missed all but the final two songs of supporting act Second Gear Grind (UC represent!). However SGG proved they were more than worthy to support the a stoner rock legend with heavy bass and guitar driven rock led superbly by vocalist S.Bell's strong vocals showcasing their influence by the band that made Bjork famous but also combining it with a more metal-like sound reminiscent of sludge rock and metal. For the entirity of their epic songs (and I'm sure their set for that matter) they had the crowd grooving in such a way that only stoner rock fans can - heavy nodding and side swaying...the cool way.

Almost straight off the bat Bjork and his support band The Bros established themselves as all about the music launching straight into it; no arsing around, just pure unadulterated rock'n'motherfucking'roll. Bjork retained the perfect stoner rock look dressed (to put it bluntly) like a bum keeping his attention to the lazy rock and was aided greatly by heavy bass of the Bros' bassist and their baritone axeman Max Roddings. In fact so heavy was the grooves of the set that when I briefly ventured out of the mosh pit (if you could call it that) to break the seal that the entire mens toilets were shaking with a force that could only be compared to a dragon farting. As this gig was part of Brant Bjork's tour for his 2008 album 'Punk Rock Guilt' there were a few songs featured in the set, but due to my aforementioned lack of knowledge of his music I can't really tell you what they were. What I can tell you however was that the songs all reeked of dirty desert rock goodness that is so very under-appreciated in this day-and-age of bland Chad Kroegerness...but I'll save a further explanation of this for another day.

By the time Bjork and the Bros wrapped up their set of heavy grooves and amp'd tunes I was re-hooked on the stoner rock vibe and keen to grab a copy of their latest album, this would not be the case however. Due to the fact that this was a bar there was no chance of getting money out, so I've now resided to the fact that when Studylink comes through it will be right on the top of the list of things to claim as part of course related costs - I'm a Mass Coms's gotta count for something right? But as far as Wednesday nights go, proclaimed Bjork midset, the night was about as close to a Thursday as you could get, and that coming from an underground legend in my books is pretty darn good.

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