Advertisement

Live Review: Melvins at Chicago’s Double Door (5/31)

Advertisement
Advertisement

    Knowing what to expect from the Melvins is a pretty strange feeling. Coming in to the first night of the Washington-based, ultimately weird four-piece’s two-night residency at Chicago’s Double Door, the large mass of sweaty dudes in black t-shirts with tour dates printed on the back had a good idea of what was coming their way. The first set promised the entirety of the band’s 1992 album, Lysol, as well as the 1991 EP Eggnog, while the second set of the evening would be the Kurt Cobain-produced/featured major label debut, Houdini. But to say that knowing the setlist or knowing the band (over their 28-year history) took away from their show would be inaccurate. There’s just an irreplaceable joy to hearing an album you’re familiar with in a live setting that no lack of surprise can hinder.

    After a long wait, Buzz “King Buzzo” Osborne led the group onstage to the strains of Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock”, the four musicians nodding subtly to the crowd, picking up their respective instruments, and ripping into the opening paranoiac noise of Lysol’s “Hung Bunny”. Osborne’s first real riffs of the night were appreciated by wild howls throughout the room, while drummers Dale Crover and Coady Willis moaned over their beat, and bassist Jarred Warren chunked out a progression. “Lysol to get me high!” Osborne hollered, bobbing his big, gray mop of hair like some sort of metal Muppet.

    katieschuering themelvins doubledoor dsc 1985 Live Review: Melvins at Chicagos Double Door (5/31)

    Photo by Katie Schuering

    The arena riffs of Eggnog‘s “Antioxidote” turned into a stage-front frenzy, Osborne shaking his finger playfully as he sang, “No, no, no, no.” Two covers from Lysol proved to be winners in the live setting as well, Alice Cooper’s “Ballad of Dwight Fry” aching with grungey chagrin and Flipper’s “Sacrifice” soaring into the metal sky. “Can’t you hear the war cry?” Osborne howled on the latter, adding that “it’s time to enlist.” Looking around the room, it seemed as if there was a large Melvins army already in the ranks. At the end of the set, Osborne left the stage first, letting each member follow after they felt finished with their droning mess. “Hey guys, we’ll be right back,” Crover blithely added as they left.

    Advertisement

    After a brief intermission, the Houdini set began with the rushing “Hag Me”. Its thundering drums and shouted “hey!” revved the crowd into a lather faster than any song from the first set. That furor just kept growing, each consecutive song growing to a bigger fever pitch than the last, each new song receiving the biggest-yet response from the crowd. The psycho-babble of “Lizzy” got plenty of fans to pump fists or electric claws into the air, but the lightning strike riffs of “Sky Pup” (which on album featured Cobain on guitar) wound up with the most moshing and aggressive cheering.

    katieschuering themelvins doubledoor dsc 1574 Live Review: Melvins at Chicagos Double Door (5/31)

    Photo by Katie Schuering

    The 10-minute monster “Spread Eagle Beagle” closed things out, Osborne shredding away at his guitar and Warren stabbing at the strings above his fretting hand to produce a shocking punch. The two drummers managed to pound out furious rhythms in perfect sync, even trading drumsticks in the middle of one riff. Once again, Osborne ducked offstage nonchalantly, leaving the other three weirdos to finish up their caveman stomp. Warren leaned his bass against his amp, looping a wall of bubbling feedback and moaning out a few tones to match. The feedback continued on even after the band left the stage, leaving the delirious onlookers to file out as the noise echoed through the room.

    Photography by Katie Schuering.

Personalized Stories

Around The Web

Advertisement