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Live Review: Melvins @ Crowbar – 11.11.2017

On Saturday, heavy music pioneers and scene-starters the Melvins graced Crowbar for the second sold out night in a row, as one of the most anticipated acts in the bar’s history.

The influence the Melvins have had on metal and rock music in general is immeasurable.  They were one of the first bands to effectively blend the sounds of Sabbath with that of Black Flag.  The moulding of early hard rock with hardcore punk.  Hailing from Seattle, they essentially initiated the city’s sound, informing the grunge bands who exploded into the mainstream in the years following their first few records.

Support act Redd Kross helped set the tone, providing a nice dose of their catchy rock music which blended elements of punk, pop, and classic rock.  They also maintained a high amount of energy creating a generally feel-good vibe to ready the crowd for what was to come.

As the room gradually filled, it became evident the colour of choice for the night was black.  Punk, metalheads and general lovers of music all squeezed in, and cheered as Buzz Osbourne, the Melvins’ vocalist and guitarist came on stage for a sound check.

The Melvins opened with their cover of Flipper’s ‘Sacrifice’, which was on their 1992 record, Lysol.  Slow and doomy, it allowed the tension to build hypnotised the crowd.  Buzz’s vocals was nice and clear in the front of the mix; fitting for his strong voice and sporadic vocal quality.  Dale Crover’s pummelling drumming vibrated the whole room and had everyone bobbing their heads ritualistically.

Following came a slew of favourites from past albums, such as ‘Queen’, with its unmistakable opening riff that kicked the energy into overdrive.  Also, a personal favourite of mine, ‘Anaconda’, from 1991’s Bullhead, came in early in the setlist with its fast, pummelling sludge; a true teeth gritter.

Through the second half they played a few songs from their more recent work, such as ‘Euthanasia’ and ‘Edgar the Elephant’ from their latest record, A Walk with Love and Death. Due to the older demographic though it generally seemed that the energy was at its highest when they played songs from their early 90’s records.  Amongst all this we got a solo drum passage from Crover, and no one could get enough of it.

To finish off, they couldn’t have chosen a more epic way.  ‘Hung Bunny’ followed by ‘Roman Bird Dog’, also from the album Lysol rounded out the set perfectly, bringing it back to the slow, droney tone it began with.  Together the songs went for about 18 minutes total, leading the set to a perfect closure.

The Melvins could have easily sold out a bigger venue, but I think the Crowbar was the perfect place for them.  They’ve been playing in bars for almost thirty years, and have always maintained an underground sound.  Plus, they perfectly sum up the kind of music Crowbar is all about.

All I know is that if they play there again next time they’re down under, I’ll be there.

All hail King Buzzo!

Written by Nathaniel Hickey