Archive for Melvins

Melvins Play Stoner Witch

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on August 17, 2013 by Noise Road

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Stoner Witch is the weirdest album of all the Melvins records on the display across the last two evenings. Melvins just don’t care, and that is the definition of outsider art – art made without an audience in mind.

When I got into the Melvins in the nineties, Stoner Witch was second only to Houdini for my favourite Melvins album. The teenage version of me remembers the big grungy rock of Queen and Revolve. Back then, I tolerated, and often skipped, the weird noise sections. Now I know that the weirdness and noise is what makes Melvins… And it is what makes Stoner Witch.

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The set was bookended by long, repetitive drum tracks. After the extended noodling at the start of June Bug, the big tracks kick in. I was unable to resist entering the throng for Queen and Revolve.

Stoner Witch does not have the consistent moshibility of Houdini. The crowd were in a stop/start animation. However I think that the album, and consequently set, has more depth. It is certainly a different experience to last night’s Houdini set.

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I don’t know if Melvins care about crowd response, but they have to be happy with level of crowd sing-along tonight. The crowd joined in the whistle outro of Roadbull, like they were at Wacken singing Maiden’s Fear of the Dark. I know that does not happen everywhere.

Although the crowd response probably was not always ideal. Late in the set, there was some fisticuffs in the front rows.  Bouncers quickly descended on the scene and dragged the punters out, as a girlfriend comically, limply, slapped the bouncers back.

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Once again the night ended with Buzzo leaving the stage, the drums driving the riff and Jared, the bass player, descending into the crowd. This time he marched through the crowd with his cardboard, homemade sword and shield.

2 nights. 4 very different sets. Melvins retain their championship title.

Melvins Play Bullhead

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on August 16, 2013 by Noise Road

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First off. Boris. Holy feck, is that track huge?!

“I say I can’t! But I really mean I won’t!”

Every successive set that the Melvins play at this Endless Residency makes me think “No. This is my favourite Melvins album”. Once again the set was loud as feck, with the drums pounding throughout.

Oft Melvins collaborator, Trevor Dunn, referred to Melvins’ Ozma album as outsider art. Bullhead is in the same vein – but it is a little crowd friendlier. The short bursts of odd riffs, are balanced by the long droning repetition of, well, odd riffs. It’s a half way house between Ozma and Lysol… and, of course, the huge drums never fail to get the crowd moving. It is weird stuff, but it is still rocky.

Melvins Play Houdini

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on August 16, 2013 by Noise Road

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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.

Melvins Play Lysol / Eggnog

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on August 16, 2013 by Noise Road

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What are Melvins doing tonight? Are they a 3 or 4 piece? How many drummers are there? Are they wielding a regular bass guitar or a stand up bass? Is Patton there? Is Adam Jones there?… If you go in blind, you will never know which face of Melvins you will catch.

Tonight is structured into 2 sets – a set of the Lysol / Eggnog tracks and a second set of the Houdini album. The Eggnog and Lysol tracks were jumbled up – perhaps to more suit the live setting, rather than the track order for listening to whilst lighting up a doob in the egg chair of your Glasgow flat.

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Melvins love covering songs… But even their relatively straight covers still have a distinctive Melvins twist on it. Even when playing their own old material, they are unable to be faithful.

The current dual drum configuration means drums are even more upfront compared to the recorded versions. The famous drone of Lysol is newly tribal with the massive drum sound. Even the quiet parts are loud. We expect to hear again sometime in the next couple of months.

It was great to see Melvins in a drastically different mode to the recent gigs that I’ve seen. In particular the frenetic guitars of Eggnog show the energy of an early Melvins configuration. Hog Leg is particularly raucous with Buzz alternating between jumping all over the guitar fret to wailing on the mic.

The almost straight up rock of With Teeth and the Ballad of Dwight Fry are crowd favourites.  With Teeth is so god damn happy and positive. How did Buzzo ever park his cynicism for 3 minutes?… And the Alice Cooper cover, Dwight Fry, brings the first sing-along of the night.

Sacrifice, the wildly unfaithful cover of the Flipper track, is once again changed. Buzz is let loose to spoken word and wail on the mic.

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It’s great to see Melvins in a wildly different mode, yet not reliving past glories. The tracks are not played safe and true to the record. They celebrate the strength of the material but are played by who the Melvins are now.

Melvins in Residence at Electric Brixton

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on August 16, 2013 by Noise Road

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Brixton is that part of central London where there is always a crazy dude singing to himself on the tube ride there. Tonight was no exception.

It is a vibrant, but slightly sketchier, part of London. It is the home of one of London’s best music venues, the famous Brixton Academy. If your favourite band is any good then that’s where they recorded their live album.

Brixton is also home of tonight’s venue, Electric Brixton. Over the next 2 nights Melvins play 5 of their early to mid nineties records. This era saw major label releases, critical and commercial successes, fan favourites and a true golden period for Melvins.

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A few weeks away from summer and spring has finally sprung in the UK. Trade in your winter jacket for, well, a slightly less thick jacket, and book to Brixton for the 4 Melvins sets over 2 nights. We hope to regain partial hearing sometime before the end of summer.

Join us!

Pro Shot Footage of Melvins Playing Early to Mid Nineties Classics

Posted in Admin with tags , , , , on August 1, 2011 by Noise Road

After a thunderous version of Night Goat, Eyehategod’s Jimmy Bower takes over Dale Crover’s side of the kit.  The evening ends in typically weird Melvins fashion.  Then Phil Anselmo forces his way onto a kit.

Some things are just good for you – regular exercise, fruit, reading Hunter S Thompson and listening to Melvins.

If you are an adult and you are not already a Melvins fan, then you probably never will be.  Melvins albums range from electronic noise albums to drone to stoner to sludge.  They have an album that will annoy a fan of any of those genres.  I ain’t going to recommend an album to you.  I ain’t going to try to convert you.

However if you are still with us, some kind soul has just uploaded pro shot footage of Melvins’ recent set at Hellfest.

Man, why didn’t I go?  This set comes off the back of their series of “Endless Residency” sets in the states, where they played entire albums from their back catalogue.  The endless residencies focused on their early to mid nineties albums – from the end of their sludge era, Bullhead, through the drone of Lysol, through the grunge-y major label era of Houdini, Stoner Witch and Stag.  There are classics in these albums that Melvins rarely, if ever, play.

Melvins not only brought a swag of these tracks to Hellfest, they are also brought their latest album, The Bride Screamed Murder,which they are yet to tour Europe with.

This is the highest quality video and audio of Melvins that I have ever seen (and I regularly trawl YouTube for Melvins).  The clarity of the video and the unique location of the set enable the viewer to see sludge metal royalty getting their groove on side of stage – Phil Anselmo, Mike Williams, Jimmy Bower (in fact the entirety of Eyehategod).  Phil Anselmo is the most animated behind King Buzzo.  You can see Anselmo constantly gesticulating through the performance.  He even elicits an awkward fist knock from Buzz just before Night Goat.  Funny stuff.

The set is as close to a greatest hits set as you’ll ever receive from Melvins.  Sure, its Melvins, so it is going to have weird passages, and the droney Lysol album is the glue of the night.  Still, from midway to the end of the show, is a pretty damn rocky set for even the casual listener.

I ain’t going to attempt to convert you, but if you know what is good for you, you will do as Anselmo, Bower and Williams do…  And by that I don’t mean spend a chunk of your life addicted to heroin.  I mean listen to Melvins.