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Kyuss were forced to change their name to Kyuss Lives! and again to Vista Chino following a lawsuit filed by former members Josh Homme and Scott Reeder, but it hasn’t changed a thing. There was really no question if the recent legal hassles had slowed the band. Their new album, Peace, harks back to the stoner roots of Kyuss, while their Metro Theatre show was a surging 90-minute set of raw power from one of the most influential bands in rock history.
Support from Sydney’s Gay Paris was a riotous affair. For most, their no-nonsense brand of good-time rock and roll served more as an entree for the main course. Extra kudos must be awarded to the guys, all of whom were sporting impressive beards which gave their performance the air of a wild and drunk hillbilly hard rock act.
Vista Chino are led by the legendary John Garcia, who is backed by Brant Bjork, aka the world’s coolest drummer, bass hero Mike Dean, and axeman Bruno Fevery––a very impressive and formidable lineup. Hitting the stage, there was no fucking around. Vista Chino played it hard and tight, without any silliness or self-indulgence.
The band served up plenty of new tracks, opening with the swirling beauty of Adara. The new songs stood tall amongst the classics, further evidence that the band has not diminished over the years. The bulldozing riffage of Dargona Dragona was case in point, eroding the long time between drinks as if it never occurred. Vista Chino sounded as powerful and relevant as they did in their smoky heyday.
The set was a die-hard’s wet dream: Asteroid, Once Inch Man, Gardenia, and so on. They closed with an astounding triumvirate of Thumb, Green Machine and Freedom Run, pushing afterburners to full power. The crowd was left needing a breather for the inevitable encore.
They announced their return with the tripped-out blast of Planets 1 & 2, with Brant Bjork on vocal duties until John Garcia joined the party. This was followed by a jaw-dropping double-whammy of Whitewater and Odyssey. A gig by one of the greats is always filled with anticipation of a fantastic performance, but when the band is actually able to pull it off, it is truly awe-inspiring and immensely satisfying.