[LIVE REVIEW] Primus @ Palais Theater, Melbourne 15/04/2018

Back in ‘94 I was lucky enough witness the spectacle that was Primus on their Pork Soda tour of Australia. This was my first time witnessing Les Claypool’s bass mastery which left my 19 year old aspiring bass player self in awe of his technical greatness. Fast forward to tonight and I was just a little freaking bit excited for tonight’s show at the Palais Theatre.

First up were The Deen Ween Group. Admittedly I didn’t know any of their material. But noticing the number of punters already filling the venue and the initial applause it was obvious a lot of their fans were present. I’d like to note it was great to see several parents had brought their children along to the show encouraging the next generation of fans and musicians. Good luck getting your children to school in the morning though. Close to the end of the set Deen Ween introduced the song Fingerbangin’ with an explanation of the meaning to us Australians much to the laughter and applause of the crowd. I hope those children were wearing their ear plugs! Les Claypool appeared with his electric acoustic bass for their last 2 numbers providing a few little bass ditties and backing vocals. I enjoyed the set, to me it felt like a big long jam session. Deservedly they received a standing ovation at conclusion.

The band I am here to see though is Primus consisting of legendary guitarist Larry LaLonde, sensational drummer Tim Alexander and of course bass extraordinaire Les Claypool. Opening with the excellent ‘Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers’ by their second number ‘Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver’ all punters on ground level were out of their seats, where they stayed for the rest of night. This is the first time I have seen Primus play in a seated venue and I had to fight the urge to not jump around erratically to the music. I think a lot of others were fighting the same urge. Alas everyone had their stationary groove on.

The stage production was quite elaborate with 5 large screens to the back of the set displaying an assortment of images, everything from David Firth’s Salad Fingers character, psychedelic waveforms, twisted characters from children’s horror stories and various still and motion from previous Primus music videos. With basically no front lighting at all this created an intimate atmosphere. My favourite projection was the original Mr Krinkle video being played while the band played the same number with Les Claypool donning a pig’s mask.

Primus made their way through such crowd pleasers as ‘Too Many puppies’, ‘Mr Krinkle’, ‘Welcome to this Word’ and ‘John the Fisherman’ finishing the set on ‘Jerry was a Race Car Driver’ and a mix of ‘My Name is Mud’ before walking off stage to the chanting endearment of ‘Primus Sucked’. Without keeping us too long they return with the addition of Deen Ween for a rendition of ‘Southland Pachyderm’. But boy Primus totally did not suck and this was a first class. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we get to witness Claypools quirky lyrics and moves again.

Review and Photos Contributed by Shane Henderson