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LIVE: PRIMUS – Sydney, 6 April, 2018

| 16 April 2018 | Reply

LIVE: PRIMUS – Sydney, 6 April, 2018
Enmore Theatre, Sydney – Friday, 6 April, 2018
Review & photography by Stuart McKay

Since forming in 1984 Primus have been carving out their inimitable style of rock music to a legion of passionate fans and have remained relevant throughout their long career due to one thing: Originality. In an industry full of derivative bands, they’ve always been at the forefront of originality and even after 34 years in the business they are still releasing music uniquely true to themselves.

After an absence of 7 years since touring Australia properly, the trail-blazing triumvirate graced the stage of The Enmore Theatre for their first show of the Aussie tour to play some songs off of their latest release The Desaturating Seven, and of course, more than a few classic Primus numbers.

First up though were opening band Dean Ween Group.

It’s been nearly 10 years since the equally unique Ween have toured Australia so fans of the band were excited to see Mickey Melchiondo aka “Dean Ween” play songs from the group’s latest offering rock2, and if they were lucky maybe a Ween song or two.

What became instantly clear after finishing opening song Dickie Betts was what a tight unit the band are and how much fun they have playing these songs live, especially the hilariously titled Finger Banging, to which Melchiondo gave even more emphasis to by sniffing his finger on each refrain of “Oooh! Finger banging” The kind of humour, so reminiscent of Frank Zappa, is delivered in such a playful way that they can easily be forgiven for such crude imagery. And speaking of Zappa, their song Mercedes Benz could have easily been a Zappa number from the ‘70s. With all jokes aside though, when you look at Dean Ween Group from a strictly musical point of view they all contribute so much to the band as a whole and the chemistry between Melchiondo and rhythm/lead guitarist Scott Rednor is clearly evident. Fans were finally treated to the punk driven Ween number It’s Gonna Be A Long Night, a song that upped the ante for a short while, before rounding out their set with the beautifully sedate dual lead guitar licks of This Heart Of Palm.

As the house lights went down the excitement for Primus was boiling up nicely. Guitarist Larry ‘Ler’ LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander were welcomed to the stage with moderate cheers with the loudest and deafening roars saved for bass virtuoso and brainchild of the band Les Claypool, signalled in by La Londe’s siren like riff for Those Damn Blue Collar Tweakers. They dove straight into Last Salmon Man and set the tone for the night with that signature Primus groove being locked in straight away.

Claypool was in his usual playful mood addressing the adoring crowd with ‘Sydney! So I say, Sydney, we’re all friends, all pals, all confidants. This is Claypool and Sydney holding hands out to conquer the night, and you know what’s coming up? It’s Larry LaLonde, God damn it!’ He then put the pressure on LaLonde to ‘break through the jet laggery and play the greatest guitar solo for the people of Sydney’ to which he most certainly did, proceeding to shred a flurry of pentatonic licks before diving deep into LaLaonde’s signature, nightmarish sound. A truly underrated guitarist who has always been able to marry up his freaky style perfectly with Claypool’s dominating bass lines without ever sounding over the top or too understated.

Triumphant cheers followed Tim Alexander’s cymbal hits as the crowd welcomed the anti war anthem Too Many Puppies from arguably Primus’ best album Frizzle Fry. They played half the song and then transitioned quickly into Sgt Baker to then segue straight back into Too Many Puppies. These quick fire, almost medley-like renditions coupled with over embellishments is what Primus balanced masterfully tonight. The ebb and flow of the music never missing a beat with the crowd able to catch their breath on psychedelic prog number The Storm, only to be bracing themselves in the biggest mosh pit of the night as they mashed up the anthems Jerry Was a Race Car Driver and My Name Is Mud, delivering the knockout punch before walking off stage and returning shortly after to a choir of fans screaming ‘Primus Sucks’ (a self-deprecating slogan coined by Claypool himself) for the much desired encore.

They rounded out the show with an epic almost-12 minute version of Southbound Pachyderm, and a super short version of Here Come The Bastards, before Les stopped the band and remembered that he had promised to play John The Fisherman for a fan whose friend who had recently passed away. This in turn ended up being an even better song to bring in the night, leaving everyone on a high and craving even more. There was briefly hope as the band walked off stage that perhaps they would come out for a second encore but as the house lights went up those hopes were gone as fast as they had come.

Primus delivered on all fronts playing old and new, freely and as unapologetically as they wanted to, and if the age demographic of this show illustrates anything it’s that their fan base is as broad reaching as their scope for true originality in music, and that originality will always live on.

Shane

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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