Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
October 21, 2014
It's an interesting time (again) to be a Melvins fan. Earlier this year Buzz embarked on a solo trek that was an epiphany for this longtime fan. Now the band (aka Dale and Buzz), who are the masters of fucking with expectations and completely fluid at reinventing themselves, have joined forces with Pinkus and Leary of the Butthole Surfers for a new album. Inspired! Old School! Not only that but the current Melvins tour has them back onstage as a power trio with Dale and Buzz being joined by Pinkus on bass. I've been following the Melvins for almost 25 years now and they're the only band who I completely accept whatever they're doing and enjoy it. I do this without any grain of salt or any rationalizing; they are the only band I don't nitpick about... and I can't say that about any of my other favorite bands.
Backstage prior to their set I had a sportsmanlike conversation with hardcore Dodgers fan Dale about baseball. It's cute how 2014 Dodgers fans clutch to the straws about how they won the Western Division... but, I must remind them, it's the Giants who stabbed and slashed their way into the World Series... to which they counter that the Giants are merely a "Wild Card" team... to which I say they don't fully understand 21st Century baseball since getting to the World Series meant the Giants had to win cage match-style games when they counted in THREE do-or-die confrontations with THREE of the leagues other best teams... including the Nationals who had the best regular season record in the MLB and the Cardinals who pretty much humiliated the Dodgers in the NLDS. What? Oh right... I guess I should go back to ranting about the Rock Show and not Jocks. Sorry..
"SOLD OUT!" said the sign at Will Call and it warmed my heart that the Melvins can still pull in a full but diverse house of followers. However, it was kind of interesting that the front row tonight was noticeably female dominated. Discuss amongst yourselves... As I watched from stage left I could feel the collective heat and humidity coming off of the sold out room combined with the Great American's unfortunate ventilation system. To paraphrase from that great Southern Rock live album, it felt "hotter than a box in a forest fire". My first thought early in the set was that it was great to see the Melvins performing as a volume-riffic power trio again. My second thought was that I was glad the waitress working the room was obviously a Melvins fan. She took advantage of her workplace efficiently and stopped to watch the band at stage left while making her floor rounds... so I was able to place a beer order with her and not have to go to the other side of the room to the bar. Hope I die before I get old.
Pinkus on the 4-string brought a funky rocking swing to the bottom end that the band really hasn't had live before. A cover of the vintage Butthole Surfers song 'Moving To Florida' was a nice nod to Mr. Pinkus and the set also included 2 songs from the new album featuring the Buttholes as well. Tonight's sonic hammer lasted around 14-songs I believe with the most ancient tune being 'Your Blessened'. If you must know, my fave song of the evening was the vintage classic 'Night Goat'! It was the perfect song to feature Pinkus on the 4-string. If you're a Melvins fan.. you know what I'm talking about. It also still fascinates me that 'The Bit' is basically the Melvins signature song here in the 21st Century; I guess they can thank Mastodon for that?
There was too much merch and I didn't do a merch audit, but I did score the new 'Night Goat' 7" reissue from AmRep with new badass screen printed art. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. The Melvins are one of those bands that, as much as I love them, it's hard for me to feel like I have anything "new" left to say about them that I haven't ranted about already. Seeing a band almost 50 times (according to the Umlaut Archives) will do that I guess... or probably I'm just getting lazy.