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Concert Review: Primus – Fox Theater, Pomona, CA, 5/19/13

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Primus stopped in Pomona during their 2013 Spring 3D Tour.  The trio (bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde, and drummer Jay Lane) delivered a set of their trademark alternative/progressive metal that focused on Green Naugahyde, their eighth studio album and the first Lane played on.  Almost a third of the songs played this evening featured half GN‘s tracks.

They started right on time, so make a note of that, you parking-lot partiers, and opened with “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers,” a few who may have been in attendance.  For those unfamiliar with their music, it’s immediately apparent that Claypool plays his bass as a lead instrument, like Charles Mingus, alongside LaLonde’s guitar rather than regulated to just holding down the rhythm.

A pair of giant astronauts bracketed the stage with a short loop of an elderly man’s face looking around projected on them throughout the show.  It was an odd, low-fi effect that didn’t add much to the proceeding.  Throughout the concert, the video screen at the back of the stage showed images related to the song.  The 3D graphics didn’t seem to have the same connection, but the first 3D effects looked damn spectacular.  Galaxies filled with stars swirled out from the stage, right in front of us and seemingly within our grasp.

During “Last Salmon Man,” 3D bubbles ascended around the band, and on the psychedelic “Southbound Pachyderm,” an animated elephant was seen jumping and bouncing about in ways an elephant wouldn’t be expected.  Midway through the latter, the music paired with very colorful images that brought to mind Dave heading “Beyond the Infinite” in the last chapter of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“Southbound Pachyderm” was also notable because a young knucklehead right in front you had been getting rowdy in the mosh pit was escorted out by security for smoking pot.  Admittedly, he was smoking quite a bit, but it seemed a rather selective enforcement of the rules.  Forget about being one of many people in the theater smoking; he wasn’t even the only one in his group smoking.  A trio made the acquaintance of a pair of fellas, and the five twenty-somethings passed a joint a couple of times around their semi-circle and then sent a pipe right after.  Even odder, when security placed a hand on his shoulder, the young man was just handing the pipe off to be put away.

In one of many instances of showing his humor, Claypool began interacting with a lad from Liverpool during “Over the Falls,” and would talk to him throughout the show.  LaLonde was brought into the conversation and Claypool started asking him about the possibility of a reunion of Possessed, LaLonde’s former death metal band.  LaLonde played a few licks but that was the end of it.  The entire band got to show their versatility in their sound with “Lee Van Cleef,” which had a country twang to it.  The song’s namesake appeared on screen.

Not surprisingly, the mosh pit grew in intensity as older, better-known songs were played to close the first set.  “My Name Is Mud” found Claypool and Lane each playing more thunderous riffs and runs than anything that had come before.  The hour-long set ended with “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver,” which still remains an outstanding song.  During the 25-minute intermission, Popeye cartoons played on the video screen.

Halfway through the second set, Claypool brought out a bow to play bass on two songs, “Seas of Cheese” and “Jilly’s on Smack,” the latter of which found him wearing a pig mask.  “The Toys Go Winding Down” and “Moron TV” had slight reggae riffs, which likely would have gone over well with the aforementioned knucklehead.

Returning for the encore, LaLonde came out first, as he waited he teased classic-rock tunes, playing bits from bands such as Deep Purple and Rush.  After “HOINFODAMAN,” a young kid was brought out and Claypool told him he could pick the last song of the night.  He was given three choices and seeing the greatest reaction go to “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” he told Claypool to play “the one they want.”  Claypool told him not to feel pressured to pick it but later praised the boy’s future in politics.  The audience got “Beaver,” which thrilled them to no end.

While Primus’ unique combination of complex compositions and silly lyrics aren’t for everyone, they put on an entertaining show that fans, especially those of Green Naugahyde, should really enjoy.  The computer-generated 3D effects are a wonderful addition to the audio-visual spectacle.

Set 1

  • Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
  • Last Salmon Man
  • Golden Boy
  • Southbound Pachyderm
  • Over the Falls
  • Lee Van Cleef
  • John the Fisherman
  • My Name Is Mud
  • Jerry Was a Race Car Driver

Set 2

  • Extinction Burst
  • Dirty Drowning Man
  • The Heckler
  • American Life
  • Seas of Cheese
  • Jilly’s on Smack
  • The Toys Go Winding Down
  • Moron TV
  • Harold of the Rocks

Encore:

  • HOINFODAMAN
  • Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver

Remaining 2013 Spring 3D Tour Dates
5/31 – Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
6/1 – Myth – Maplewood, MN
6/2 – Riviera Theater – Chicago, IL
6/6 – Mountain Jam Festival – Hunter, NY ^
6/7-8 – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON
6/9 – Niagara River Rocks – North Tonawanda, NY ^
^ – Not 3D shows

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS
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