|Masters of Reality|
|September 11, 1999 - The Borderline, London [UK]|
Theme For The
Scientist Of The Invisible
Ants In The Kitchen
Band: Chris Goss, Brendon McNichol, Paul Powell, John Leamy, Mathias Schneeberger
Masters of Reality
The Borderline, London - September 11, 1999
What little air there is in the Borderline tonight is drenched with moisture and fragrant with the smell of illicit weed, while the walls seem to bulge under the pressure of volume, as heavily chinned Masters of Reality mainman Chris Goss battles against the thunderous accompaniment of his band. The sensation this combination offers is like having a tight band tied round your forehead, and then being repeatedly kicked in the head. But no one appears to be complaining. Masters of Reality are making their long-awaited return to the UK, so the faithful are out in force, and they're not disappointed by the way the evening unfolds.
Being stoner exponents extraordinaire, MOR don't slip into that big bog of fuzziness that sometimes traps the less talented, but deliver a set that is full of variety. 'The Great Spelunker' - dedicated to the late and much lamented Fat Lady Jennifer Patterson, "the best thing to come off this goddam island in the last ten years" - has a delightful jazzy feel, as does 'Kill The King', much credit going to the rhythm section comprised of Paul Powell (bass) and John Leamy (drums). Listening to the band's delivery of 'Also Ran Song' is like being swept along on a wave of mercury, while 'Why The Fly?' rumbles like a locomotive going through a tunnel. Meanwhile '100 Years' has a wonderfully dreamy, hallucinogenic opening, and 'She Got Me' comes across as a freeway song with added urgency. Through it all, Goss remains bouncy and good-humoured in the almost unbearable humidity, his voice surprisingly pure.
After 90 sweaty minutes, it's all over, the fat man has sung and I don't think I've ever heard applause as deafening in the Borderline before. Perhaps Goss won't leave it so long next time? [Valerie Potter]
Masters of Reality
The Borderline, London
Not exactly the most prolific of bands, a new Masters of Reality album is usually something to savour. Even more so is an all-too rare live show from Chris Goss and his pals, and a packed out Borderline paid testament to how highly regarded the band are.
The early running of the show meant that MOR are already ploughing through 'The Great Spelunker' (don't ask me what that means) by the time I make it into the venue (having missed the excellently titled 'It's Shit' from the band's spanking new Welcome To The Western Lodge album, along with three other numbers), and there is still plenty of fiery, blues based hard rock on offer. It's easy to think 'heavyweight' when confronted by Goss and co; they are, after all, one of the original protagonists of the stoner genre, and the five-piece band certainly give the likes of 'Kill The King', 'Blue Garden', 'Alder Smoke Blues' and 'Take A Shot At The Clown' some serious clout, with Goss' smoky blues voice and stirring guitar workouts to the fore.
The more keyboard-oriented slant of material from Welcome To The Western Lodge is handled to perfection by Mathias Schneeberger (another candidate for 'best rock name'?), although the inclusion of just two songs from the band's excellent second album, Sunrise On The Sufferbus - namely, '100 Years (Of Tears On The Wind)' and the closing 'She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)' - is a low point. But on the whole this is more a night of highs. Masters of Reality are a class act, always have been. It's just a pity that they don't get over here to play more often. [Jerry Ewing]
Masters of Reality, WE
The Borderline, London - Saturday, September 11, 1999
Second long-awaited UK show from stoner legend Chris Goss and his band. 3/5
Let's face it, WE could probably have picked themselves a better monicker when they grouped the band together back in 1991. That may even be why no one's ever heard of them before this evening. But on this showing, all that will soon change for the Scandinavian four-piece. Sure, there's a lorry-load of Kyuss in the mix, complete with a wondrous building-shaking bass, but there's also enough originality to stop them being mere copyists. You see the problem: great band, stupid name.
After waiting longer than forever to see the legendary Masters of Reality, they finally managed to make it over to the UK for a one-off London show last year... on the same day as a tube strike. Thus, while the band were well up for it, the audience was half the size it would have been and were generally grumpy and far too sober. Tonight, sadly, the opposite seems to be the case. It's Saturday night, we're here and we're stoked, all getting drawn in as burning incense adds a kind of holy aura to the venue. And yet frontman/guitarist Chris Goss manages to play the whole set like he's just stepped in something nasty.
All is well as they kick off with the gloriously titled 'It's Shit' and 'Moriah', from the new album Welcome To The Western Lodge, but it soon becomes obvious that Goss is not enjoying himself one iota - and as the main attraction, that rather affects the show. Bizarrely dedicating the entire set to Jennifer Paterson, the recently deceased TV Fat Lady, he then proceeds to offer the most perfunctory of performances - technically brilliant, but so lacking in spirit it's depressing.
There's not a single note out of place for the likes of 'Ants In The Kitchen' and 'John Brown', but Chris Goss manages to ooze such disdain throughout this normally uplifting stoner/blues workout that you end up not giving a shit. Masters of Reality they may be: masters of merriment they most certainly are not. [Mörat]