Primus returned to Austin last night, for the umpteenth time, to perform a unique two set show to a sold out crowd of fans at ACL Live. Austin has long been a favorite tour stop for the band and it's frontman Les Claypool on his many weird and wonderful side projects.
With a bare stage Primus first set was a solid covering of some, but not all, of the bands hits and crowd favorites. Starting with "Too Many Puppies" the band skipped around their career arc hitting "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver", "My Name Is Mud", and others before wrapping the first set with "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver".
After a brief break to build the set and don masks and costumes, the band returned to perform a multimedia performance of their vision of Willie Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's soundtrack. I always found the original film with Gene Wilder more than a bit dark and disturbed but in Les Claypool and Primus hands the music and film takes on a whole new level of twisted, weird, and creepy, like clown paintings by a mass murderer.
With oompa loompas appearing infrequently amongst giant candies and huge inflatable mushrooms Primus with The Fungi Ensemble, led by Claypool wearing a red wig, top hat, and mask proceeded to soundtrack the film, as snippets culled from the movie played on a giant screen behind the band. Favorite songs from the movie such as "Candyman", "Pure Imagination", and "Golden Ticket" were recognizable but just barely as Claypool and his consorts twisted their harmonies into a spooky disquieting melange.
I'm going to start having the oompa loompa nightmares again.
Primus current tour wraps in Escondido, CA this Saturday but the band has a few "one off" gigs in December and January. For a list of tour dates check their site at http://primusville.com/tour/.