Melvins Play Houdini

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Noise Road has seen Melvins play the Houdini album before. It was mid afternoon, in Melbourne… possibly above a Chinese restaurant.  Buzz, Dale and Trevor Dunn were touring Oz as part of the Fantomas Director’s Cut sets at the Big Day Out. With a Houdini live album recently released under the Buzz/Dale/Dunn configuration, the band used the opportunity to play a couple of sideshows in the one day in Melbourne.

So, this should be something that I know. Nothing new here, right… Wrong. This is the Melvins after all.

Although the order of tracks was different to that on the record at the Melbourne show, it was a reasonably straight-up rendition of the tracks. In contrast, the London gig was a honed live beast of a set rather than a replication of the album.

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Houdini is probably the Melvins’ heaviest, rockiest release… but that is tempered by the noisey and experimental tracks on the album.

Tonight’s set went for the jugular. Hooch had the crowd moving, but when the opening riff of Honey Bucket kicked in, the crowd exploded into a frenetic mosh. I’ve seen Melvins shows all over the world for the last decade and I’ve never seen such a manic crowd response. This is the same crowd that nodded their heads for the previous Eggnog / Lysol set.

I do not know if Melvins really wanted the kids throwing themselves around and crowdsurfing, but they had loaded the front end of the set with the rocky numbers. As the crunch of the Lizzy chorus kicked in, the frenzy was unleashed again.  The pop punk of Set Me Straight had the crowd bouncing.

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The noise/experimental tracks were saved for the end. Buzz left the stage, while the dual drums drove the riff, and bassist, Jared, gave us a performance art set on the mic as he wandered into the crowd.

In 15 years of Melvins gigs I’ve never been as surprised. An almost straight-up rock show from the Melvins. I left far sweatier than I intended, but as entertained as I had expected.

2 Responses to “Melvins Play Houdini”

  1. You’re making me jealous! I was at the same afternoon gig at Ding Dong… if it wasn’t a freakin sauna that day the crowd might have went crazy too!

  2. Fun! I’ve only seen the Melvins on a couple of occasions, but they were significantly different both times. I’d be seeing them on Monday if I wasn’t in Seattle for Summer Slaughter.

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