If someone finds a pair of balls, please return them to my person. They have been missing for a few days now since the Melvins annihilated the Corona Theatre. It was everything you’d expect going to see the Melvins, and by that, I mean that you have absolutely no idea what to expect…at all. With Steven McDonald AND Jeff Pinkus on bass, the wild Dale Crover on drums, and your friendly neighbourhood Buzz “Buzzo” Osborne on guitar; you could only imagine what came out of the Melvins that night. Joined by Indian Handcrafts and Pig Buddha, the crowd was turned upside down and inside out by this show.
Indian Handcrafts opened the night with some heavy energy. The Canadian trio seemed to follow up every head bangin’ riff with another; very Sabbath-esque, very stoner metal. Almost so much so that the riffs sounded as though I’d heard them before. These guys were heavy though and brought energy to their performance that the crowd connected with. The band recently released some fresh material in the shape of a 14-minute saga called “Reborn” which definitely conveys the vibes I’m trying to describe. This song is also their first release as a three-piece, having evolved from being a duo. Songs like “Bruce Lee” show the duo side of the band, and they sure made use of the extra member live.
Next up was the mystical Pig Buddha. Who is this band? Where have they spawned from? Is that a neon green guitar? Is the bassist really playing a baritone guitar through a Fender Rumble? These were some of the questions being asked by perplexed members of the crowd as Pig Buddha began setting up shop.
Their veil of intrigue was only fortified by their music. The word “tight” could definitely not be used to describe the set, but that did not seem like the angle these musicians were coming from. I feel like this was a show that could have been set in the underground scene of the 90s. Pig Buddha’s music was unrefined, dissonant, off-kilter. Their music rang with a messy mix of punk and grunge and was delivered with a strange demeanour. Their bassist resembled The Room actor Tommy Wiseau as he sported heavy duty black-out sunglasses and chomped down on a thick gum the entire set. Guitarist/vocalist Rebecca Sevrin stop on a few occasions in between songs to braid her hair, and their drummer was sweating his ass off trying to hold down the beats. It was an interesting vibe, to say the least. Expect the unexpected at a Melvins show, because that’s definitely what Pig Buddha was.
At last, the fog had settled and out stepped Pinkus and McDonald of the Melvins, both yielding the wildest basses possible. As the bassists filled the room with insane low-end feedback and sound effects, Crover and Osborne joined them on stage, and together the band ripped into “Sesame Street Meat.” Naturally, everything just seemed to shatter at that moment. With two bass rigs, and Buzzo’s dual guitar amp set up, the crowd was crushed like ants under a shoe. The energy was flying right off the stage and into the big vein of the audience. Juiced up on Melvins mojo, the crowd was intense. Mosh pits, head banging, and primal savageness was what the floor looked like during moments of climactic release. Their classic “Honey Bucket” even prompted stage diving. That song in particular really tickled the right spot. With a band that has so much material under their belt; people all have their ideal setlists in their head coming to the show.
Touring on their newest release, Pinkus Abortion Technician, the band played some songs off that record which were done with both Pinkus and McDonald on bass. My personal favourite on the album and live was the behemoth of a song “Don’t Forget To Breathe.” Slow, mean, groovy, with hypnotic melodies; that song was definitely a gem from the night. The set was packed with great material and the way Pinkus and McDonald orchestrated their bass parts added a wicked new twist on a lot of the songs. They even threw in a cover of “Sway” by The Rolling Stones. Crover lurked in the back and was a crazed entity behind the kit; singing into his headpiece mic and laying down precision drumming as he’s well known to do. King Buzzo was especially intense to watch as he towered over the crowd with that wild look in his eyes. Everybody on stage was absolutely tuned in.
The show ended in complete sonic chaos as the Melvins pushed their cavalry of gear to the limits. Complete destruction was served at the hand of the intense feedback and low-end push which was immediately followed by The Sound of Music classic “So Long Farewell” to play the band off stage. The Melvins are one of those bands that have just been consistently evolving and spitting out amazing and relevant music. This was not some throwback to the 90s grunge-scene kind of performance. This was absolutely killer music from a legendary band that has proven its might time and time again. Go grab a copy of Pinkus Abortion Technician or any other of their albums for that matter and get in on the goods. Wild wild time.
Written by Ben Cornel
Photography by Mihaela Petrescu
*edited by Danielle Kenedy