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Melvins, Big Business, Flipper and Porn, Dublin, 16th December 2006

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Finishing off the year in style, Dublin promoter U:Mack throws its Christmas party. This year they have outdone themselves with Porn, Flipper, Big Business and the Melvins. Despite Flipper being a huge disappointment, the night was a massive success with the other three bands putting on fantastic displays of rocking out.

 

Dale Crover made his first of several appearances of the night with his other band Porn. Dressed as Elvis and throwing karate chops and kicks like a pro, he set the mood for the evening: insanely fun. Porn’s set was all too short, the stop-start rhythms and ear destroying volumes were a very welcome introduction to the evening’s entertainment. Tim Moss’ guitar was as loud as the hounds of hell, I’m not sure whether Porn were actually louder than the following three bands or just damaged my hearing enough to make everything else seem quieter (and this was with ear protection!). Their heavily silly set finished with members of the audience either scratching their heads or grinning in appreciation (I was in the latter group).

In contrast, Flipper were a major let down. Despite their reputation, they put on a poor performance. For a band that on record strips paint from the walls, tonight they would have had trouble stripping themselves for bed. Vocalist Bruse Loose was so drunk he could barely stand and his performance sucked as a result. He staggered around the stage trying to knock over the other members of the band. At this point I may be criticised for not being rock’n’roll enough to appreciate his behaviour but this was not rock’n’roll, this was a shambles. Guest bassist, Krist Novoselic was the highlight of the gig for me. Despite my complete intolerance for Nirvana, his bass playing salvaged the show from being a complete write-off. Unfortunately, Ted Falconi’s guitar was totally lost, only occasionally could it be heard over Novoselic’s bass. He looked like he was playing well but it was impossible to hear him. The set at least finished on a high as Crover, Buzz Osborne and Coady Willis came out to join Flipper. With two drummers and a guitar extra, Flipper finally had the full presence that was lacking from their set.

Big Business’ turn was next. With just the two of them on stage I was surprised that they had as much presence as the Flipper big band that was on just before them. Despite being stood on by Jared Warren when he stepped out onto the barrier to share his bass with the crowd, he was a loveable chap. After he told the crowd that they were used to being showered gifts and money during performances, a hail of coins pelted the stage (thrown with love and admiration though). Crover returned to the stage yet again to play guitar with Big Business, his playing was far better than I was expecting. As a three piece, the group got the crowd moving for the first time. There was a great vibe in the room during their set but the packed conditions made those of us down the front feel a little squashed. Still, I am not complaining, it is physical music and it demands a physical payment.

Crover finally took his place on his drum stool and Buzz came out during Big Business’ last song, marking the transition from Big Business’ set to the Melvins’ set. Opening with “The Talking Horse” from their latest album, the crowd seemed to get a fresh injection of adrenaline. Being jostled and jostling back is the best way to enjoy this music. The Melvins showed just how heavy heavy metal should be. There is none of the arty pretensions of the new wave of metal and also none of the “my solo is faster than yours” virtuosity competitions that plague most metal bands, just the exposed muscle of the riff. Willis and Crover’s dual drum assault provided a backbone of iron for Buzz and Warren to flatten the crowd with. The setlist was made predominantly of tracks from (A) Senile Animal with a few classics thrown in for good measure. “Hooch” and “Sky Pup” from Houdini were very welcome but a sludged out version of “The Bit” from Stag was out of this world. Buzz’s idea of a solo is more in line with that of Lou Reed’s idea, let the guitar sing and forget where your fingers are.

Watching Big Business and the Melvins play is a lesson in how to rock. Both bands (or the band depending how you view them) have reduced metal to its most potent form and live the power hits home the hardest. Despite coming out of the concert with my ears ringing and my body covered in bruises, I cannot convey how much I enjoyed tonight’s show. This is definitely one of the live highlights of my year and it rounds of the gigging season wonderfully.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 03:57  


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