Brant Bjork. Far out. Far fucking out. The crowd was screaming themselves hoarse for the ex-Kyuss and Fu Manchu drummer turned guitar legend long before he took to the stage with his band of brothers, and if possible, the roar grew louder as he launched into Hinda 65, a favourite off his 2000 album with the Operators. The man’s got all the green, but it ain’t the kind you smoke. Amen, brother.
What followed was an hour-long set of the coolest, grooviest, heaviest desert rock tunes heard outside of Palm Springs in a long, long time. That set, people, is how stoner rock music is played: groove-laden repetitive riffs glued together with weed resin.
Playing a good representation of songs his four studio albums, Bjork held the packed Corner Hotel crowd in the palm of his hand for the entire show. Some of the songs ran together to form these amazing groove sessions that set heads nodding and hips swivelling. Squint through the smoke and you could almost see the desert sun rising over the bonnet of your Dodge Rambler.
Despite the large numbers at the gig — and 90 percent of them were hardcore fans of his work, whether it be from the Kyuss days, or on the early Queens of the Stone Age records, Fu Manchu or with Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator — it felt more like a gathering of old friends than a gig. A euphoric mood permeated the whole night. Even the security dudes were nice.
Byron mammoth rockers Fort set the scene early, thundering through their beefy catalogue with all eyes glued to charismatic frontman Andy Walker. It was very difficult to remain unaffected by this band’s brand of killer riffs, but the night belonged to Brant and his Bros.
After the show the band chilled at the Cherry Bar, but few late-night patrons realised the cat in the hat was pure rock and roll royalty. I have fuzzy recollections of jabbering some form of inebriated greeting to the King en route to the bathroom, but I can’t be sure.
The Californian sun was in my eyes and I was surfing around on a cloud of happiness. What a gig: straight into the top five of all time, with a bullet.