The Melvins, Honky 08.13 @ Club Sound

Posted August 20, 2013 in

The Melvins shelled out a punk-y show like they've been doing it relentlessly for years. Photo: Mackie Osborne

The Melvins are on tour to celebrate 30 years of avant-garde metal, countless member changes and an extensive discography that branches out into amazingly diverse side projects, including those with Mike Patton and Jelo Biafra. The original 1983 lineup reunited for Tres Cabrones, scheduled for release in November, hopefully to resurrect some amazing OG evil sounds. I missed their tour last year as Melvins Lite for their 2012 release Freak Puke, so I was super stoked to see them again after almost three years. 

I forget that Club Sound is all ages and I am reminded at the door when I’m told I have to put my keychain back in the car because it can be used as a weapon. Honky opens for Melvins while I’m finishing a pitcher, and after about two songs, I’m sadly not impressed with the former Butthole Surfer. The bass is not very prominent and the drums sound like trashcan lids, which worked for Pussy Galore, but not this band. Not here and not now. Maybe I just don’t like the cowboy hats and the “Devil’s Rejects” hillbilly getup. 
The Melvins file unceremoniously on stage with Honky bassist and former Butthole Surfers’ Jeff Pinkus filling in for Jared Warren. I can’t help but compare Pinkus’ contribution to the Melvins to Bill Moseley’s band, Cornbugs, both aesthetically and musically. They open with “Hag Me” and a demonic presence rises down on the room but especially on the cute, old metalhead guy in the front with his adorable matching socks and skull bandana. Last time I saw Melvins in 2010, Buzz had some sort of intergalactic muumuu with a hood, and I remember worrying about how he was going to wash it after such a fucking awesome, sweaty show. This year’s muumuu had really neat stars n’ stuff all over the front of it, and he rocks it like a boss.
They go right into “The War on Wisdom” with no regard to the audience or any pauses. Badass Dale Crover and second drummer Coady Willis (Big Business) are machines—they literally never stop as each song melts into the next, often filled with mini dueling drum solos. Although they are blowing my face off with nonstop, machinegun metal, I can’t help but feel like they are just “playing another show,” and they just want to hurry and get out of there.
It amazes me how a band can maintain a very specific but evolving sound after 30 years and probably 30 lineup changes as they are playing “A Growing Disgust” from Freak Puke. Freak Puke has a jazz influence to it, thanks to Trevor Dunn, but with Pinkus on bass, is much more punk rock. The beauty of the Melvins is that they can adapt their sound to any audience from any musical influence and bring out a diverse group of people every time. They blow through “Let It All Be” from The Bootlicker then “Lizzy” and “Night Goat” from Houdini flawlessly, all crowd favorites. 
They start playing “The Water Glass” from “The Bride Screams Murder” while I’m spending too much money on merchandise and I’m yelling lyrics at the guy operating the merch booth, stoked about my awesome new Melvins shirt, “Oh No, It’s Melvins” DEVO poster and Trevor Dunn experimental jazz cd.
I end the night with an armload of Melvins loot after watching them exit as unceremoniously as they came, confirming the notion that they were in a hurry. Regardless of their rushed performance, it was a perfect Melvins experience.
The Melvins shelled out a punk-y show like they've been doing it relentlessly for years. Photo: Mackie Osborne