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REVIEW: The Melvins at El Club Detroit – 8.3.18

The Melvins

by David Gimpel

The Melvins return to Detroit’s El Club a year after the now infamous gig at the same venue where the party was stopped by the police, presumably because the show ROCKED too much. This time around the show was sold out months ago, and seemed like the attendance was kept capped.

Opening the party on Friday was the legendary Jon Spencer. Spencer has been killing it since the 80s with noise rockers Pussy Galore, The Blues Explosion, Boss Hog, and his rockabilly project, Heavy Trash. Some would say Jon Spencer’s early work influenced bands that became popular in the early 2000s, namely The White Stripes. The room was packed early to catch his set. I will admit I miss Jon Spencer with The Blues Explosion, those band members always bring an extra fire to Jon’s eccentric personality.

This go around his backing band featured a percussion player beating on a rig made of old car parts. I will say that is a first for me. His set was filled with songs from his new solo record and all of the songs were new to everyone in attendance, so a few of his classic jams would have helped the crowd stay more engaged. It didn’t stop us from having a good time, though.

The Melvins hit the stage with a new look, touring with two bass players: Steven McDonald (from the band Red Cross) and Jeff Pinkus (from the Butthole Surfers). I thought having two bass players mucked up the sound too much. However, watching them on stage was quite the site. There was enough hair flying around to remind of 1985-era Metallica on stage. Lead singer Buzz Osborne’s hair only is worth the price of admission, it looks like that guitar of his is also a static electricity ball.

It was good to see a band that has been playing their brand of noise, “sludge metal,” for 36 years now have not mellowed out. The same can be said for the crowd. The second song in, a 50 year old man was spotted crowd surfing, but only for a split second before he fell. A few songs later, another 50-something guy was stage diving. That caused the band to pause and say “Dudes, your too old to stage dive. Stop It!”

Setlist:
Sesame Street Meat
At A Crawl
The Kicking Machine
Saviour Machine (David Bowie cover)
What They Say (Red Cross cover)
Anaconda
Stop
Moving To Florida (Butthole Surfers cover)
Let It All Be
Honey Bucket
The Bit
Don’t Forget To Breathe
Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad
The Talking Horse
Evil New War God
Eye Flys

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