25 June 2011


Well hello there! After weeks of choosing photos and [still] being sick, I present...

Primus! As the world knows, these dudes are at the top of the proverbial short list of my favorite bands, so I was pretty psyched when they rolled on in to play a show in STL. They performed on 29 May at The Pageant, and yes, I'm slow to post.

First up: the place is tiny. As in middle-school-gymnasium tiny. Sold-out, packed-like-sardines tiny. It was a strange, but wonderful, place for Primus to play - they've spent some time touring with stadium-size amphitheatre crowds, and the band has no problem selling out any Pretty Big Venue. But here they were, the main event at something slightly larger than a third grader's birthday party... Yay.

Openers for the evening were The Dead Kenny G's (name and attitude a juxtaposition of them and him), consisting of [Claypool's friends and frequent bandmates] Skerik (saxophones and keyboard) and Mike Dillon (drums, xylophone, vibes, anything else percussive), as well as a rotating bassist, currently Brad Houser. Again, that's Skerik, Dillon, and Mr. Houser. They put on a crazy show - Skerik on sax and keyboard at the same time! - and their music is quite wonderfully wild and unpredictable. A+ to that. On the downside, though, it's basically a prolonged wacky jam session, so songs are hard to pick out and the tunes are a bit forgettable. Oh well - what fun! It's saying something when you're not booing the openers or just wishing the headliners would hurry up and take the stage, no?

So, uh, about those headliners... Primus' performance was, most accurately, exciting. They're doing the whole promo tour thing backwards: rather than putting out an album and then touring to promote it, they're on the road to hype Green Naugahyde, which isn't even coming out until September! Grrr. Ergo, they played a fair amount of new material. I can't guarantee precisely which new tunes were played, but I can think of two fresh songs that were ho-hum at best; otherwise, the new tracks were hopefully signs of good things to come! The sound was weird, energetic, dark, and, well, generally Primus-y. As usual, with Les Claypool at the helm, it's all bass-centric.

Don't worry, though, it was still a classic Primus show! They couldn't leave the building without playing a pile of fan favorites, no creo. They hit plenty of highlights - "Seas of Cheese", "My Name Is Mud", "Tommy The Cat", "American Life", and even "Golden Boy" made appearances, among others. That list pretty much covers the beginnings of my bassery... Unfortunately, a few duds slipped in too *cough cough "Over The Electric Grapevine" cough* but hey, who's counting?

It should be noted that, as you'll see, the Colonel has a new custom bass. For those keeping track, it's another four-string fretted with tremelo, but not a Carl Thompson axe. Anyway, it's a purdy chunk-o-wood, and its super-clickety-clackety fun percussive tone thoroughly complements Les' slap-pop style. That's how it works when you help build your own weapons, I suppose.

Enough words! Let's have some eye candy. As previously mentioned, I spent quite a while choosing what not to inflict upon you - starting with 230+ snapshots, I pared it down to a cheap roll of film. Caption comes after photo; images courtesy the madre. Here goes.


First up, across the street from The Pageant we have the Pi Pizzeria; think I could get an ink discount?

Before the show, obviously. We were at the front of the not-mosh-pit section, and the people in this photo are as far forward as they could get. Cups included for scale. When the place filled up, the floor space en frente was only twelve human sardines thick - did I mention that this venue is cozy?

The Dead Kenny G's. L to R, that's Skerik, Brad Houser, and Mike Dillon xylophoning.

Another shot of the openers, with Dillon on drums this time. White suits and curly black wigs complete the Kenny G satire.

Here they come! You'll notice a depressing lack of weird masks and hats throughout the night. I guess Les is sticking with steampunk.

That's what most of the night looked like - the Colonel more or less staring at me. Groovy.

As usual, Les takes a break to mock the people up front who are flipping him off. Always amusing, but a bit too salty to quote here! Make up your own phallic jokes as necessary.

Gratuitous blurry shot! Mr. C managed to transition his rant into "Mr. Knowitall," which the obsessed would recognize here by hand position. He is so elo-quent...

Oh my, Primus is more than just Les Claypool??? It can't be! The stripey dude on guitar is Larry "Ler" LaLonde, and the invisible drummer is Jay "Jayski" Lane. Check out Les' Dobro bass.

Les explains that Ler was worried about looking "Freddy Krueger-ish" with his attire. Point well made.

Mmm, Fender Mustang guitar solo. Not so Krueger-ish. Or Kroger-ish, for that matter.

A light shone down from the heavens, and there was... Jay Lane! And it was good.

You can almost see him back there. Nobody ever said Primus shows were well-lit.

Les makes an appearance during the drum solo, armed with his one-string whamola and requisite chimpanzee mask. Really, Ler's the one worried about looking like a weirdo?

Another example of apparent eye contact. He was close enough - who knows.

Time to saw away for a few numbers. With the derby, spectacles, and vest, he's looking like 19th century Professor Claypool.


Sorry that it's inherently Mr. Blurrycam because of speed and lighting, but here's a glorious interlude of whacking the strings with the back of the bow. I can just feel whole orchestras cringing at the thought.

Ha! Through the blur, it's still classic. Foot up on the monitor; face in the bullet mic; arm muting the strings on the big fat fretless sixer; hands slapping away on the neck. You can spot "My Name Is Mud" from a mile away.

"Adonde va, el chico de la ciudad..." Slappity slappity whap.

Supposedly by request, Les 'n' Friends trot out for one more Primus staple pre-encore. I remember it as if it were a meal ago! And so does "Tommy the Cat."

Say, baby, that's a difficult song to sing and play at the same time.

The trio plays a couple of encores. Where do you get inflatable astronauts, anyway? (BTW, they're "Buzz" and "Neil")

And a final dose of stare plus blurhands. What a fun night, kind sirs.


There you go. Tune in next time for a more well-written post submitted by monkeys!

1 comment:

  1. LOVED the update, john! you're amazing. keep it up with the adventure-sharing, and i hope you're feeling better!