Primus shakes down the crowd

by Shannon Bishop, taken from The Daily Cougar.

Rockefeller's West, Houston, TX, USA. November 22, 1993.

Primus' music is a thrill.

It is a strange and beautiful phenomenon when one can find happiness and well-being in songs about cats fucking, drunk driving and whacking off. How do they do it?

No matter how Rockefeller's West determines capacity crowds, last Tuesday night there were about 400 more people than the space could hold. Despite the unpleasant crowding, the Primus show was refreshing.

Before Primus hit the stage, the crowd was bursting at the seams, moshing to the cartoon movie being projected behind the stage. Then it happened.

Primus exploded in a bass-driven frenzy. The crowd below was a swarming, undulating, thousand-headed monster as far as the eye could see.

Band leader Les Claypool can slap his bass better than anyone out there. Claypool's bass virtuosity was, as usual, showcased on electric, six-string fretless bass. Songs like "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" get better every time.

The other band members held their own through family favorites such as "The Old Diamond Back Sturgeon," "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers," "Fish On" and "Pork God."

Larry LaLoude was perfectly charming. He played those really complex melodies and accompaniments, all the time demurely hanging out at stage left, Bobbing up and down, he was barely noticeable except for his awesome sound.

Tim Alexander beat out bowel-rocking rhythms while practically hidden behind his massive drum set. The drums kit isn't big, there's just a lot of drums there.

In this age of excess, bands like Primus can still shake down a crowd with a mere three instruments.

Opening act the Melvins was underwhelming.

No one paid much attention to the band's pseudo-political, angst-ridden, adolescent ramblings. The lead singer screamed, but didn't sound like he meant it.

The Melvins sound relied heavily upon a tonal bass and drum line. The few guitar solos thrown in were reminiscent of a band some kids formed in ninth grade. Listening to the guitarist's solos was sort of like watching someone who doesn't know how masturbate.

Everyone was glad when the Melvins was spent.

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