Live Review: The Melvins @ Rescue Rooms, 2nd October 2009

Grunge (for want of a better label) pioneers the Melvins are raucous, but they have a wry twist to their anger – witness, tonight, the smile on King Buzzo’s face as they crack through most of latest two albums Nude With Boots and (A) Senile Animal, plus the obligatory career highlights of songs like ‘Boris’ and ‘Honey Bucket’. Dotted throughout the crowd are men and women dressed in black, clearly rabid fans, and dancing… no, jerking around, like medieval peasants in one of those woodcuts depicting the horror of St. Vitus’ dance.

Unfortunately, unlike a typical Melvins shows, it’s hard to get lost in the sheer drone – the volume seems somehow muted. Let’s face it, if you’re at a Melvins gig you’re not there for delicacy. You’re not there to hear something fragile. You’re there because you want your ears to get fucked up, the kind of damage that you’ll bitterly regret in the care home years. It’s never been so clearly evident how quiet the Rescue Rooms are, and I could still hear dropped change tinkling on the pavement outside after, so chalk that up as a disappointment.

This was in spite of the dual drummer display kept those of us not in the mosh pit rapt with attention –  Big Business, the support for the night, are also currently (technically) members of the Melvins after their album collaborations (showing that, like a senile animal, all it takes to rejuvenate a band is a shot in the arm of something suitable, some extra drug), and drummer Coady Willis joined Melvins mainstay Dale Crover for a two drum setup that was something wicked and frightful and powerful. The set-ending cover of country classic ‘Okie From Muskogee’ went down a storm. They’re clearly not hippies, they probably don’t take no LSD, and they don’t have draft cards to burn. They don’t need to. They make the white lightning excitement for themselves.


Ian Steadman


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