Weirdness. Riffs. Laughs. Beer. Beats. Smarts. The West Coast. Bass. Art. Singing. Rock N Roll. Grooves. Punk. Screams. Sludge.
These are some of the ingredients that make up just as small part of the majesty that is Melvins.
While certainly not adverse to technology, they are not the first band that comes to mind when you think of live streaming. Being authentic, real and one of the best bands in the world has always been the journey line for Melvins. Oh, and following their inspiration and not any trends, or even a discernable predictable pattern from release to release is forever their thing. Still, I was super stoked for the band to do their very first livestream event, Melvins TV: Volume 1, New Year’s Evil, which promised to be anything but typical.
Comprised of stellar visuals, five-band performances, interviews with the trio, and other fun moments, Melvins TV: Volume 1, New Year’s Evil was a fun and funny take of the experience that doesn’t quite work or even translate for some artists. Naturally, to do a long concert in a room with no crowd, must be as weird for the band as it is for the fan, especially if you have seen them live. You don’t watch Melvins as much as you feel Melvins, which for me is similar to Sleep, Earth, or YOB.
Void Manes opened and set the table with a great combo of audio/visual sensory experience. With almost no indication, it took me a minute to even comprehend this was the formal opening to the event. I think it was intentional. The Melvins setlist was short, but impeccable with great performances cherry-picked from a few choice albums I love: Houdini, A Walk with Love & Death, Bullhead, Nude With Boots, and The Bride Screamed Murder. Of course, Buzz and Dale rule hard, and rule together in any configuration. They played great! Semi-regular bassist Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) is actually my favorite Melvins bassist ever. He brings so much to the table on bass and as a vocalist, that he really fits in nicely no matter what era of music he tackles.
Visually the rest of the stream was great, with incredible visuals overlaid on top of the band performing, in between segments, each scene fitting the mood of the song. Also, the interspersed hilarious stories from each members’ music career. Each one of them could write volumes of books on the shit they have seen and done and forgot about probably. This was equally enjoyable to the songs performed and really hammered home the no rules, but Melvins’ rules aesthetic they have espoused (without saying it) for nearly forty years.
This is clearly not what the band would rather be doing with their time instead of touring, but I appreciate how much care they put into this, like, everything they do. It was also dirt cheap for the value, and the stream quality and the chat were flawless, which is nice. I’ll be looking forward to the next one of these. The band recently announced the Feb. 26 release of Working With God, a second full-length album featuring the Melvins 1983 line-up of Osborne, Crover, and original Melvins’ drummer Mike Dillard. Album pre-orders are available now (https://lnk.to/MelvinsWWG). Dale Crover releases his sophomore full-length, Rat-A-Tat-Tat!, on Jan. 15 (pre-order: http://joyfulnoi.se/Rat-a-tat-tat).
Setlist (via setlist.fm)
Edgar the Elephant
The Kicking Machine
Evil New War God
BY KEITH CHACHKES