Melvins / Big Business / A Purge of Dissidents
Two gigs in close proximity for America's best kept secret, the mighty Melvins - bang in the middle of a short North American tour. Taking a similar approach to the show that was brought to Europe earlier this year, the Melvins have their own built in support act - Big Business. As a bonus, the shows were opened by a series of sick psychedelic animations called "a purge of dissidents".
Having toured exhaustively through 2006 and 2007, the Melvins have returned with a revamped set which includes some new takes on old material. Opening up with It's Shoved and a bizarre cover version of the Beatles' I Wanna Hold Your Hand (each of which last about 2 minutes) the band chunks into Civilised Worm from last year's magnificent album A Senile Animal. They follow with a brace of unreleased tracks including the brilliant Suicide in Progress. However, it's when they play Lizzy from seminal album Houdini that the crowd really starts responding and the band themselves seem to pick up the energy levels.
Some of the usual crowd pleasing favourites have been dropped in favour of tracks from the Eggnog and Lysol albums - With Teeth sounding particularly fine in it's revitalised form, but the fast medley of tracks from Senile Animal is what really gets the fans moving - the middle of the dancefloor turning into a churning mass of pogoing and moshing. The pace slackens off towards the end of the set, with Mechanical Bride demonstrating just how dark and sludgy they can be (and folks, I mean that in a really good way), before closing with another classic Melvins cover version of Alice Cooper's Ballad of Dwight Fry.
The band seems in quite a serious mood on these dates (with the exception of Jarred Warren, who insists to the crowd that his T-shirt does not depict a Unicorn - it's a "fantasy horse"), but the playing is tight and the fans are very happy. A line of more than 100 people turned away from the sold-out Brooklyn date gives you an idea of the loyal following this band inspires... most of them just hung around outside the gig until the show was finished, just on the off chance they might get in.