Kyuss Lives! is still alive

Stoner-rock legends Kyuss Lives! goes on without a couple former members on its latest tour.

Photos by Jacob Zinn

By Lliam Easterbrook
[senior features writer]

The artists formerly known as Kyuss played a sold out show under the pseudonym Kyuss Lives! at the Commodore Ballroom on Wednesday, Nov. 22, bringing fans of stoner-rock back for a shot of sweaty, boozy nostalgia.

Kyuss Lives! played a stellar set, rushing through their back catalogue like a meth addict searching for a lighter, the songs blending into one another with little or no separation.

The band packed a 16-song set into just over an hour — everything up-tempo, everything sonic. I’ve never seen so many sweaty, boozy, wasted 30-somethings falling into shirtless, sweaty, boozy, wasted skinheads in all my life.

Hailing from Palm Desert California, Kyuss Lives!, who reunited without guitarist Joshe Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal) — and respectfully changed their name in his absence — were also without prominent bassist Nick Oliveri (also of Queens of the Stone Age), who could be facing jail time in the near future for drug and firearm possession.

Perhaps the rest of the band just really, really, really missed the road.

And like a polar bear bulks up for a winter, they looked like they had been packing on the winter weight for travel, with lead singer John Garcia resembling a fat Jim Morrison on stage — a Morrison trying his best to sing like Geddy Lee.

The stage backdrop was a mural of a setting sun blistering out crows flying — circling — undoubtedly searching for decaying carrion drying from the hot desert sun.

I felt like I was being taken out into the dry night for peyote frenzy. A goddamned frenzy I would welcome with gusto. Naturally.

The band opened with the psychedelic “Gardenia”, then moved quickly into “Hurricane”, “One Inch Man”, and “Thumb.”

From there the trip out sand-side moved ever faster into my personal favourites, “Freedom Run” and “Asteroid” — feeling more spaced out than ever — or maybe that was just the fury of all the hash being passed around and the number of beers I had spilled on me. I don’t know.

The feedback was deadly; the guitars, heavy. And although Homme and Oliveri stayed home, Kyuss Lives! still felt like the fucking undead on stage, zombiefying our psyches with a blaze of testicle-fueled bravado and head-butt-to-the-nose rock and roll.