The legends of unearthly loud and proud rock n’ roll known as Melvins returned from their underworld journey reforged and reformed as an even louder beast at a sold-out show at The Warsaw in Greenpoint on Friday night. Guitarist and singer Buzz Osborne has been defying categorization and producing one of the most consistently unique, brutal, and criminally insane sounds under this moniker since the early 80’s, but he has recently added two legendary bassists to the roster with the addition of Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald and Butthole Surfers’ Jeff Pinkus to pair against the band’s long-time drummer and giant of hulking rhythms Dale Crover. They came in support of their new album Pinkus Abortion Technician, that sports their thundering new lineup, and came to Brooklyn with a mission to pummel this packed house into rocked-out dust.
The veteran LA rockers All Souls opened the show with an impressively confident, riff-hearty, and jam-heavy set. This is a band that has apparently been a long time in the making, as way back in 1994, Tony Tornay (of Fatso Jetson, The Desert Sessions, and Linda Perry) first met Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (of the totally awesome Totimoshi and Alma Sangre) by introduction from Erik Trammel (of Black Elk and Wadsworth), and they even discussed working together back some 25 years ago, but only recently did they finally get it together to kick some collective rock n’ roll ass. Their recently released debut self-titled album is a real blast and plays off some brutal tension and harsh angular constructions that wonder the lands between upbeat adult punk and darkly grinding hard rock.
The Melvins came out with a mission to grind this audience up into sweaty, head-banging, and moshed-out monsters, and they achieved that and much, much more by the end of the night. Much like their new album, the set featured some surprising classic deep-cut covers of other rock legends as well recreations of some of their afore-mentioned previously bands; thusly they ran through some sweet tracks like Redd Kross’ “What They Say” and Butthole Surfers’ “Moving to Florida” as well as James Gang’s “Stop” and David Bowie’s “Saviour Machine” that were morphed into this insane musical medley mélange, and in the end, they made it all their very own Frankenstein monster. There wasn’t as many of their “hits” as I would have hoped, even though I knew this was their kind of their modus operandi, as the previous shows of theirs I had seen also weren’t big into the mega nostalgia train wrecks either. They did skim the surface of their mid-90’s zenith with songs like “Honey Bucket,” “The Bit” and “Let It All Be.” I would have liked to hear a little more from classics like 93’s Houdini, but they clearly aren’t obsessed with looking back sentimentally, and just like that album’s namesake, when they played their last song, they vanished into thin air with no encore.
Article: Dean Keim