[Originally published 1/8/2011]
Who: The Melvins
Where: The Satellite (aka, Spaceland)
The Melvins have come to the venue formerly known as Spaceland to grace us with their presence and play four sold shows this month to destroy your mind and annihilate your insides, starting with Colossus of Destiny, Lysol, and Eggnog last night. No opening band--no one is worthy--just the Melvins and then more Melvins, playing metal-rock-psych-noise guaranteed to leave your ears ringing for days.
I got to Spaceland an hour early, expecting irritatingly long lines for such a highly anticipated show, but found only a few people hanging out and a bunch of people trying to score last minute tickets. Eventually a sizable line formed down Silver Lake Blvd., with almost every person in it wearing black head to toe. Quite boring compared to what the band was wearing....
Inside, the line for the bar was dwarfed by the line for the Melvins merchs. Turns out they're selling a lot of killer limited edition goods that I'm already kicking myself for not picking up--adorable and weird finger puppet posters designed by Kii Arens for each Spaceland show, a letterpress box set of CDs designed and printed by Mackie Osborne (Melvins' founder Buzz's wife), and special vinyl edition of the band's most recent release, The Bride Screamed Murder.
After waiting patiently for about forty five minutes, the Melvins took to the stage, and the sweat started to fly almost immediately. The Melvins as they are now are singer/guitarist Buzz Osbourne, bassist Jared Warren, and dueling drummers Dale Crover and Coady Willis, and they probably came to Spaceland via a spaceship or at least a time machine. King Buzzo looked like a mad scientist with his frizzy grey-and-white curls and wore what appears to be a Snuggie with rainbow colored, smiling donkeys printed on the chest. Jarred was wearing a sparkly pink tshirt and a fabric helmet while Dale and Coady looked like they were wearing homemade gladiator suits with furry armor.
Their setup was as awesomely weird as their clothing. Dale and Coady sat on ridiculously low stools and were hidden through most of the show behind oversized drums. Buzz played a chrome-plaited guitar that was soon covered in sweaty fingerprints and blinded us all at various points throughout the set.
Yes, that is a BATTERY that Buzz is playing his guitar with--a Super Alkaline battery instead of a pick. Badass.
I talked to Shannon Cornett, who booked the residency, earlier in the evening about how it all came to be, and why the residency is her biggest accomplishment as a booker:
"I told myself as a Booker that I would book the Melvins. I thought about how I would do it so that it would be different than any other Melvins show, and thought about doing three shows. After coming home to Minneapolis for the Amphetamine Reptile anniversary last August, Dale mentioned they had no plans for January. We discussed a residency and from there within a week the shows had been booked."
On why the Melvins are pretty much the only band in L.A. that could pull off a residency like this:
"This was also the perfect opportunity for an artist to be creative during time off on their home turf. It would allow them the opportunity to experiment each week and mainly to just have fun. I always felt as though the Melvins were ahead of their time--they can attest to it by the countless albums they've put out. Going to an actual Melvins concert is a whole other beast. They are loud, demanding and simply bad ass."
It's true--they are extremely loud and incredibly demanding for putting us through nearly three hours of some of their most difficult material tonight. They played new songs blended in with Colossus and swam in and out of Lysol and Eggnog, as expected. Even die-hard fans admitted that Colossus of Destiny droned on for a bit long, but the Melvins rule because they clearly don't give a fuck and their fans love them for it. "Thank you for coming" were the only words Buzz offered the crowd all night.
Tonight's crowd was very polite, content to bang their heads while standing pretty still. Surprisingly little moshing went on, with only a little pushing and shoving towards the end--and that's when Buzz finally cracked what I think might be a little smile before taking off for the night.
Footage from tonight's show was up on youtube less than an hour after the show ended: