|Chris Goss and Friends|
|September 6, 2001 - Knitting Factory - Los Angeles, CA [USA]|
100 Years (of tears on
Band: Chris Goss, Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan, Dave Catching, Troy Van Leeuwen, Nick Lucero, Peter Perdichizzi, Brendon McNichol, Roxy Saint
Chris Goss And Friends
The Knitting Factory, Los Angeles - Thursday, September 6, 2001
An all-star cast joins the Masters of Reality mainman for a very special night 4/5
If you've never heard of them, it would be easy to mistakenly believe that Masters of Reality would sound like one of the heaviest bands ever. After all, they did borrow their name from the third Black Sabbath album. But, as big, bald Masters mainman Chris Goss proves tonight, more than anything else his bands songs are about innovation, mystery and, most of all, a feel for melody of the timeless variety. Tonight, in this rare solo show, Chris is excited at the prospect of hearing his mates play some of his tunes, and frankly so are we.
Chris begins the show alone with his electric guitar cranked up, and performs '100 Years (Of Tears On The Wind)'. Even without the lush instrumentation of its studio counterpart, it remains stirring and expansive. "This is just a way for me to play with some friends that I don't get to see too often," Goss explains when he's finished with the first tune. And from there on in it's one highlight after another. Talented musicians drift on and off the stage with each song, including Queens Of The Stone Age's Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and Dave Catching, former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, A Perfect Circle's Troy Van Leeuwen, and many others.
While there are broad smiles on many on many of the players (except for the ever -taciturn Lanegan), there isn't too much drunken musicianship. Indeed, with Chris being such an inspiring figure to the younger players, Josh and many of the others play with blinding brilliance. Songs from the Welcome to the Western Lodge album dominate the set list, which is disappointing for those who adore the Masters' self -titled debut. What makes up for this is the clutch of songs from the upcoming Masters LP, including 'Roof Of The Shed' co-written by Chris and Josh. Still, the highlight is the spooky, jazzy 'Rabbit One' (from Sunrise on the Sufferbus). Chris laughs, breaking the mood, and calls the whole shebang "a great big incestuous musical mess." Not that that's a bad thing.
This is especially true when both Josh and Nick are on such fine form, with Nick singing lead vocals on a newie called 'Gonna Leave You' and a rousing finale of the unreleased 'Deep In The Hole' and the perennial closer 'John Brown'. The wildly applauding audience understand that they've just witnessed something rare and special: originality is one thing, but to turn it into beautiful music is a rare trick indeed. [Joshua Sindell]
Thanks to Jay Babcock for permission to post the following review, which originally appeared in an edited form in Mojo magazine. Visit Jay's website at www.jaybabcock.com
A Master of Reality and his Queens
September 6, 2001:
CHRIS GOSS & FRIENDS at the Knitting Factory, Los Angeles
Masters of Reality singer-guitarist Chris Goss has led one of the most tantalizing careers in rock. Since the Masters debuted in 1988 with their Rick Rubin-produced eponymous album, Goss has emerged every few years with a new Masters lineup, a new record deal and a fantastic new album of warmly melodic Cream-style rock - and then disappeared again. The Masters may have recorded some of the best 'classic rock' you've (probably) never heard, but existing as they did in the late '80s/early '90s - rather than in their natural chrono-habitat of the late '60s/early '70s - seems to have assigned them to commercial obscurity.
Still, Goss has become something of a legend. In the last decade he has produced records at his High Desert lodge-studio for Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Ian Astbury and countless other stoner-rock friends. One gets the sense that the attraction to Goss for these artists isn't just the sound he gets in the studio - it's that he's an accessible, humble artist with a mysteriously deep connection to heavier rock's golden age: someone who still holds the key to the White Room. Not for nothing did Ginger Baker join the Masters for the length of 1992's glorious Sunrise on the Sufferbus, his only appearance on a straight ahead rock record in the last 15 years.
Tonight - five days before the terrorist attacks on the East Coast - Goss ventures into Hollywood with his friends in tow for a rare appearance, made even rarer by its sit-down, acoustic approach. When he opens the show with a solo electric take on Suffer's '100 Years (of tears on the wind)', Goss is about as far in appearance from rock god as you can get: no curled bronze locks here, just one meanly shaved glowdome and a physical presence that rivals Mountain's Leslie West for pleasant plumpness. He's an Island of Dr. Moreau-era Brando with a guitar and a bunch of songs. Songs that are old, lost and soon-to-be-released: whimsical folk-pop haikus, slow blues vamps, rustic stompers, and Mellotron-haunted hymns. Songs about witches, fishing, and rabbits, delivered tonight with grace (no jams here), good humor and - especially on the ghost-town-beneath-the-firmament ballads - a strange, affecting power.
Goss's playing is minimal, his voice - still strangely redolent of both Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce - comforting, rich, timeless. Musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Brendan McNichol and Queens bassist Nick Lucero, shuffle on and offstage, like some shadowy fraternity performing at a rare talent showcase. Familiar songs are aired, but most of the set is either new, rare or re-arranged: 'Lovers Sky', sung by a somewhat frightened-looking ex-Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, finds Goss and Queens preppie Josh Homme adding gorgeous counterharmonies, while 'Roof of The Shed', an as-yet-unreleased tune co-written and co-sung by Goss and Homme, is an alluring drone-hymn with a typically MoR/Queens obscure lyric. By the time of the rousing Zeppelin-hootenanny closer 'John Brown', the setting has shifted from well-appointed Hollywood club to a late-night private gathering somewhere out in the deep desert, with Goss and friends playing - purely for their own pleasure - songs rendered secret by an accident of history. Tonight, once again, the pleasure is ours too. [Jay Babcock]