Melvins are a band that I’ve loved for years but have always managed to miss when they play so needless to say I was well chuffed when I scored the chance to not just review the gig, but also meet and interview King Buzzo from the band. But before we get to the force of nature that is the Melvins... we have Redd Kross to contend with.
Formed in 1980, Redd Kross were originally a hardcore punk band fronted by brothers Jeff and Steve MacDonald who were 13 and 11 at the time. Their sound later morphed into a more melodic 70s rock influenced power pop, which is what they treat us to tonight. They burst onto the stage and proceed to blast us with beach boys harmonies and high octane Cheap Trick/Husker Du style songs that are chock a block full of memorable riffs. They play with power, panache and tongue in cheek theatricality which is fun to watch. I was never really a fan before, but based on tonight’s performance that may have changed.
The gig tonight is being run with almost military precision, so there’s barely enough time for a wee sneaky fag and a chat with my co conspirator for tonight, John outside before we had to go back in for the main event.
Half of Redd Kross are also in the Melvins (Bassist Steve MacDonald and Drummer Dale Crover) so fair play to them for getting up and doing it all again, especially given the intensity of the Melvins set. What can we say about the mighty Melvins? One of the most influential bands of the 80’s/90’s who arguably created both Grunge and Sludge Metal, the Melvins have been blazing their own willfully weird trail since 1983. The SWG3 is pretty packed and the excitement in the air is palpable. King Buzzo strides across the stage and turns on his amp, from which comes a bowel quaking drone. He then launches into the opening riff of Flipper cover Sacrifice, it’s pummeling riff a taster of the sonic punishment ahead.
One thing I’ve always loved about the Melvins is that all their ferocious heaviness is juxtaposed with the keen sense of absurdity. The best example of this tonight would be the insane cover of I want to hold your hand by the Beatles which slows down to an almost stop at the do do do do do bits. Other stand out tracks are Anaconda, The Kicking Machine and Euthanasia, Edgar the Elephant and Soberphobia from the new LP. The extended outro for Hung Bunny was also absolutely incredible, but the star of the show as far as I’m concerned is Dale Crover, who manages to sound like 3 people playing drums simultaneously.
The sound in the SWG is great as usual, you can even hear the vocals clearly. It’s definitely becoming my favourite venue in Glasgow. All in all this was a brilliant night and a definite contender for gig of the year! Tomorrow we have an interview going live starring the Melvins too, so keep yer eyes peeled for it!
Cheers to Baz, and also John Pringle from The Velveteen Riot for the review