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Primus Sucks, in Austin

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This was my first Primus show and I only own one Primus album, so I only knew about half of the songs. Regardless, I’m a big fan and I couldn’t miss this opportunity to see Les and Co. in action.

I didn’t expect them to go into Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver because it’s ‘the hit,’ but I was hoping they’d play my personal favorite, Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers. Primus did an amazing version of the song at Woodstock ’94 and it came out great. The studio version doesn’t do it justice. I knew I was in luck when I heard Ler strike those two chords, each panned to a different side of the stage. After a few rounds of guitar, Les chimed in with his two-note march and the crowd broke when the band let the beat out at full throttle. Watching Les prance around the stage in that goofy knee-raising hop is quite a sight.

But the song to get the crowd the most active was, or course, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver. As soon as Les hit the first few notes and the lights came on, everyone pogo’d in unison and it didn’t stop for four minutes (or whatever it is).

Les and Ler are obviously talented and creative musicians but I had never given their various drummers much attention (despite their obvious talent). Well, they gave Brain, their new drummer, the stage for twenty minutes and he rocked, giving us a good dose of classic Primus beats and other innovative rhythms. The dude also had an unbelievably crowded drum set – two kick drums and umpteen toms. I’m sure every drummer in the audience was in awe.

Musically, the band was tight and the set went smoothly. The Austin Music Hall isn’t exactly the best sounding venue in town but all the levels sounded ok to me.

And how could I forget all the antics… some guy got on stage in a suit and Dubya mask and played an air-powered miniature keyboard, saying he’d gladly give up “this politics bullshit” if we (audience) liked his music. Also, Les wore a Planet of the Apes-type mask for a while and hobbled around the stage with a homemade one-string bass – basically a metal rod with a string and a pickup. The only semblance of stage effects was two giant white balloons (“how ya like the balls?”) hanging from the ceiling that functioned as screens for two projectors. We got to watch all kinds of wacky film clips and animations, one of which was people wearing monkey masks doing various and sundry activities such as riding a bike and jogging. Primates seemed be a theme in the show… The jogging clip was played specifically for Here Come The Bastards. How fitting.

The show was a tad pricey but worth every dollar. They played for well over two hours and looked as excited to up there as if it were their first show. If they end up in your town, give them a try even if you don’t consider yourself a hard-core fan. They are all creative musicians whose music is anything but formulaic – it truly is art. But do be prepared for the unexpected. Les’ goofy sense of humor comes through loud and clear.

Chris Olsen also had good things to say about his Primus experience.

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  • http://www.buzzgrinder.com Seth Werkheiser

    I saw them in Philadelpha and loved every minute of it… well, ‘cept the silly pot heads next to us that were like, “Oh, so we can’t smoke weed in here?”

  • http://www.particleman.org/ Particleman

    I didn’t get the potheads either. Primus and pot don’t seem to complement each other very well.

  • Lyndon

    [edited]…I love Primus, I was baked when I watched the DVD and John The Fisherman literally seemed like 2 hours long…They do go together well…[edited]. Man everyone in Primus either was or still is a stoner man…”I spell it THC”…”Minds numbed up by THC”

  • Michelle

    I’m in the DMV video. Do you know how much that RAWKS. I was also present at the live recording of “Tommy the Cat”. When Les was playing his double bass. Though i’m not on the dvd footage it stays in my heart forever. I also can’t press enough that “John the Fisherman” is my fave video. Les’s vocals are so amazing. In fact the whole band is amazing.