Monday, May 7, 2018 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro
Lan and I have seen the Melvins open for just about every band in the late 90s but we’ve never been to a Melvins headlining show. Gonna see NIN? Melvins are opening. Tool? Melvins. Manson? You bet your ass Melvins are opening. So here in the year of our Lord 2018, it was time for King Buzzo and co. to show us what they are working with as the marquee act.
We headed to Carrboro and made it just in time to miss the opener. [Sorry, All Souls. We’re old. -Ed.] It was a pretty decent turnout for some old dudes on a Monday night. I was telling my girlfriend about the show and she said, “Who are the Melvins?” I guess I forgot that she is 25. She doesn’t remember Houdini or Stoner Witch. Say what you want about some of their records over the years, when they step on the stage and rock, it’s a unique experience. King Buzzo commands the stage and plays every show at full throttle. Except for that time I saw them at Ozzfest ’98 where Buzz was not stoked in the slightest and did nothing but feedback his guitar on the stacks for 20 minutes until I bounced to the main stage to catch Soulfly. Peep Buzz talking about his Ozzfest experience in an interview with Metalsucks here. “Not cuz Ozzfest wanted us, because Tool wanted us. And I quote, they told us that they will not do it unless we do it, because [Tool] wanted at least one band on the tour that they liked. So they took us with them on the tour. Ozzfest people were adamantly opposed to us playing.” [LOL! -Ed.]
The Melvins in 2018 are all about bringing the low end with 2 bassists and a kick drum that rattled my eyeballs so bad that I had to move to the back and get another beer. Their newest slab of downtuned, head-scratching weirdness, this year’s Pinkus Abortion Technician on Ipecac, only appeared once on the setlist. With 35 years of recorded output to choose from, I can see why they throw the rule book out the window. Also, they are the Melvins and never opened the book in the first damn place. The setlist bounced around between about 12 albums and a handful of covers. It was nice to catch some classics like “Honey Bucket” off of Houdini and Stag‘s opener, “The Bit.”
The King was resplendent in his eyeball wizard regalia, alongside Pinkus, who was looking like he came straight from a Midwest trailer park next door to Joe Dirt, and Steve, rocking a suit with an all-over print flame pattern that was likely tailored by Guy Fieri himself. Oddly enough, none of those fine gentlemen were the oddest thing I saw that night. [Honorable mention goes to the dude with a sweet Mercyful Fate backpatch. -Ed.] Sitting on some rigging, stage right, was an older lady, all kitted out with a lawn chair and art supplies. She was apparently live-sketching the aural dysphoria that is a Melvins show. It doesn’t get much more avant-garde than that.