The Melvins – Showbox Market 5/22/2009

So I am finally getting around to writing this Melvins review. I figured it was about time that my one dutiful reader farming his days away in Western PA had something new to read. A caveat here, I am not a HUGE Melvins fan. I am however a HUGE “Houdini” fan. I know that to many core Melvins fans, “Houdini” is not considered their best album or most representative of the Melvins. Hell, after reading The Stranger’s preview, it sounds as if King Buzzo himself is not even that big of a fan.

That said, the show rocked. Did I mention that Green River played as well? For those not up on their Northwest Grunge history, here is a little primer. Green River featured singer Mark Arm, bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard. Later, Mark Arm would be known for his work in Mudhoney and Ament and Gossard would go on to be members of Pearl Jam, and prior to that Mother Love Bone. During roughly the same time period, The Melvins were playing similar music in Montesano, WA and would soon influence a young Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, both of whom would go on to form Nirvana.

Later, after “Grunge” became part of the zeitgiest, Cobain used his influence to get the Melvins a major deal with Atlantic, and the forthcoming release was 1993’s “Houdini”. To many, including myself, this is the album that sparked an initial interest in the Melvins. But I digress.

The show. The show. Well the lineup was as follows; Melvins playing as they did in 1983, then Green River, then the Melvins playing “Houdini” from start to finish. I attended the show with some friends who are musicians and HUGE Melvins fans. They, as did I loved the first Melvins set. Heavy on the punk influences, less on the dirgy, stoner metal. Not too long, just a tease really. After a short set break, Green River came on with Mark Arm attacking the stage like a young Iggy Pop/Mick Jagger. Arm hasn’t aged a day. He looked liked he just graduated high school. Fun stuff seeing these legendary musicians playing in a band that they last played in back in 1987. You could tell how much fun they were having, and the crowd really responded. I thoroughly enjoyed the cover of Bowie’s “Queen Bitch”, but what I really wanted was “Houdini” and that slow, sludgy, stoner metal. Not to be disappointed, the Melvins soon took the stage.

Not only was the lineup different for this, the final set, but the volume was turned way up. At the first chord of “Hooch”, the pit began to swirl – lucky for me, I was nowhere near the pit, but safely up on the mezzanine area by the bar. Highlights include the Kiss cover “Going Blind”, “Set Me Straight”, “Honey Bucket”. Just an amazing show. Like I said the day following the show, if the Melvins are coming to your town, do not miss them.