Melvins know no years. They’re just too fucking good to be bothered with them. So, seeing the trio, now nearing its fifth (!) decade in existence, destroy a stage live is a bit like hovering above the historiography of it all. All content, no context.
The trio – Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Steven McDonald – came to Pittsburgh Sunday and played their goddamn hearts out with an eclectic setlist before a packed crowd at Rex Theatre in the heart of South Side. Punk-pop icons Redd Kross and studio guru Toshi Kasai opened the evening admirably.
The band wasted little time assaulting the ears, opening with a throttling take on “Sesame Street Meat,” off the Butthole Surfers pseudo-collaboration Hold It In. It was all hits and no misses from there, and King Buzzo and company unleashed a torrent of sludge/punk noise that pulled from every corner of their sizable discography. While a highlight of the evening for me was live staple “It’s Shoved,” off Bullhead – I have yet to hear a less-than-eruptive take on it from these guys over all the years and all the lineup changes – Melvins also wowed the crowd with energetic takes on “The Bit” (from Stag), “Honey Bucket” (from Houdini) and “Civilized Worm”[off (A) Senile Animal]. Shit, they even reached back to 1989 for a reprise of “Oven,” from the legendary Ozma LP.
I got the chance to interview Osborne a couple of weeks ago to advance the set for Pittsburgh Current and he talked, quite plainly, about the importance of taking indie-icon life very seriously. He doesn’t mess around with local tourism when on the road, except for the occasional visit to a good bookstore, and prefers take-out in the club to visiting a city-favorite haunt. He practices, soundchecks and performs without mucking about the place. He also is meticulous about his setlists (he compared them to constructing a Broadway musical) and that was evident in how Melvins ripped through song after song, sometimes seemingly without pause.
Curious about your chance to see this group of misfits live? It’s time to be converted.
10/9 – Hamden, CT – Space Ballroom
10/10 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw
10/11 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony
10/12 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
10/13 – Baltimore, MD – Otto Bar
10/15 – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry
10/16 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
10/17 – Charlotte, NC – Visualize Theatre
10/18 – Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
10/19 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
10/21 – Orlando, FL – The Social
10/22 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
10/23 – Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
10/25 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
10/26 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
10/27 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
10/28 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Studio
10/29 – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
10/30 – Austin, TX – Mohawk
10/31 – Dallas, TX – Trees
11/3 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
11/4 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
11/5 – Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse Saloon
11/7 – Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar
11/8 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo – Justin Vellucci, MusicTAP, Oct. 8, 2019