The Melvins, Melvins 1983, Big Business
Imogen Decordova 09/12/2008
After missing The Nightmare Before Christmas curated by our heroes in question, it was all I could do to see the behemoths of distortion and heavy low frequencies that are The Melvins, and disappoint they did not. The ambigiously titled Melvins 1983 stormed through a collection of songs from the mangled demos joined by founding member Mike Dillard on drums, and Dale Crover took over bass duties.
Any Hippies in Here?, Get the Hell out of Here, there seemed to be a theme of hippy bashing tonight with Big Business frontman Jared Willis expressing his disgust for this particular breed of liberal species. Despite this the drum and bass duo worked their magic. Watching Coady Willis negotiate his extended drum kit is like watching a wizard at work. For those that think Dale Crover is a drumming Adonis, Willis proves just as engaging.
Grounds for Divorce was a particular highlight (unfortunately their cover of Devo's Be Stiff was nowhere to be heard). Jared's bass could have done with being a couple of hundred decibels louder, I thought it would blow the cobwebs off of a few relics in the venue. However, after the weekend's antics which saw the band blow an amp after the first note of their set they probably thought better. The twinning of Melvins and Big Business is akin to a distorted mirror reflection. The synchronized drumming is nothing short of amazing to watch. Although Buzz had a solemn look on his face throughout, one glimpse from him felt like your eyes would be burnt out of their socket, like Medusa, albeit with scarier hair. The intimacy of The Scala suited the evening perfectly, with no barrier between band and audience I thought buzz was going to knock out the front row with his guitar or mammoth afro from which he had actually carried his equipment and roadie in.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the energy and stamina The Melvins seem to possess (in their stripped down incarnation and the current lineup). The band worked through mostly the newer songs from A Senile Animal and Nude With Boots, much to my disappointment. I was hoping for some older classics. Revolver was met with cheers and gentle shoving which constituted the mosh pit of the evening - compared to their Islington show last year, the evening was tame.
The highlights of their set were mainly golden oldies which included Eyes Flys in its entirety, acslow, dense track prompting audience members to shuffle from foot to foot in anxiety as they anticipated the climatic detuned riffs punctuating the glacial paced drum beat, then there was the haunting stroke of genius that is Boris which sounded equally amazing, as did the distinctively Melvins version of Star Spangled Banner which almost made me want to lift a clenched fist across my chest as a sign of patriotism.
The night drew to a close with an intimate last track from Buzz as the others abandoned the stage leaving him to a soulful rendition of Okie from Muskogee which drew titters of laughter amidst annoying shouts and requests from audience members who should simply shut the fudge up and let the man sing in future, damn savage hippies.