I am really not trying to suck up to Les Claypool, I swear, I just really really like his music, and always have, whether it was with Primus, any of his other side projects, or even his session work. The things he can do with a bass are different and distinctive and set him far above the mean average for bass players, and I've always been a little awstruck watching him create his sound live. It is probably too much to expect an UNbiased Primus review from me, but I have yet to hear a bad record or see a bad live show Les has participated in.
That said, Primus' tour in support of their new greatest hits CD and 2003 tour DVD launched in Austin on Wednesday night, before heading off to Houston and beyond. Opening the tour at the Austin Music Hall, after touring all summer with his Fancy Band, Les and Primus just blew the doors off the place. Had Social Distortion not been playing Stubb's the same night I daresay the show would have sold completely out. As it was, the place was packed, as evidenced by the 300 or so people trying to squeeze into the outdoor smoking area between acts. (If I know some of you in a biblical sense now because of the porch, I am sorry, but I swear that really was my camera lens.)
Primus, consisting this tour of bassist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry Lalonde, and drummer Tim Alexander, as well as a huge inflatible spaceman and a set of lights that look like giant "bug zappers," started the tour off right in Austin plowing through such crowd favorites as "Seas of Cheese," "My Name is Mud," and "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver." With Les using the standup "stick" bass and playing it with a bow, they also blasted through Mr. Krinkle. Larry just shredded on the guitar and I don't think Tim missed a beat on his drum kit. Primus played a solid 75 minute set, Les expectedly and finally donning a pig mask for the last number, "Here Come The Bastards." They did not play "Wynonas Big Brown Beaver," but I don't think the audience even noticed. I would have enjoyed hearing "Southbound Pachyderm" again live, and I am still waiting for them to do "Mephisto and Kevin" live.
Opening for Primus, Drums & Tuba had me half-expecting to see some weird marching band based on their name, or maybe some avante garde experimental fusion group, but in reality they are a hard hard rocking power trio consisting of Brian Wolff on tuba, Neal McKeeby on guitar, and Tony Nazero on drums and lead vocals. From New Orleans, kind of like Tool with brass, these guys have a hard driving sound and Nazero's voice has an slightly rough, edgy sound, much like Shaun Morgan of the South African band Seether or Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs. Opening for Primus on a number of shows before handing over the reins to equally different Rasputina, this is a great band, well worth seeing as a headliner with a full set. Catch them if you get the chance.
Primus Set List - Austin Music Hall 11/1/06
To Defy The Laws of Tradition
Those Damned Blue Collar Tweakers
Seas of Cheese
Is It Luck
My Name Is Mud
Jerry Was A Racecar Driver
Here Come The Bastards