It's Sunday night, and
the smell of marijuana is thick in the orchestra pit at the Orpheum. Fans in
pig masks shout "Fuck you Les!", "Fuck you Larry!", and "Primus fucking
sucks!". Les Claypool comes on stage, accompanied by his gentleman cohorts
Larry Lalonde on guitars and Jay
Lane on drums. He hits a flatulent note on his
Carl Thompson bass, and the world explodes.
This is the last night of the
Oddity Faire tour, headlined by Primus and incorporating, well, odd musical
acts along the way. It's like the people who grew up listening to Primus formed
their own bands, which is probably the case. The Boston show has Mucca Pazza, a 30-piece brass-punk marching band. (Imagine
Fanfare Ciocărlia but playing American music.)
Primus opens with "Those Damned
Blue-Collar Tweekers" and in short order start playing the popular hits that have
earned them both money and hugs. "Pudding Time," "Southbound Pachyderm,"
"Elevens," "My Name is Mud," it's all there. (Plus two songs from the Brown Album, but whatevz to that). They
sneak in covers of The Police's "Behind my Camel," which has become a Primus
standard over the years, and Tom Waits' "Big in Japan." The show ends with "Harold
of the Rocks", with "Here Come the Bastards" and "Tommy the Cat" for an encore.
Les Claypool spent most of the
2000s touring with his various side projects-Colonel Claypool's Bucket of
Bernie Brains, the Fancy Band, Flying Frog Brigade, and Oysterhead. When Primus
started touring again, the open-ended jam band ethos became a big part of their
performances. The Boston
show has its share of whamola jams and instrumental solos, but they are short
and tight. The jams are focused and groovy, not ambient explorations. Jay Lane's drum
solo steals the show. Which is not that surprising, because Claypool lets the
audience in on a little secret-Jay
Lane moonlights as Buckethead. (These are the
Primus's setlist is necessarily
shorter than usual to make room for other Oddity Faire artists. Considerate of
them, but what the world needs is more
Primus, not less, especially since they are at the absolute top of their game.
It's commonly conjectured that the
Rolling Stones withheld from releasing Rock
and Roll Circus because The Who, fresh off a tour, upstaged them. Footage
of The Who from that concert, playing "A Quick One While He's Away," is a great
example of a supremely talented band doing what they do better than anyone
else. Primus, on the last show of the Oddity Faire, are the same way. On this
night, they're the best fucking band in the world.
Arafat Kazi is a
Bangladeshi drummer who's kind of an obnoxious guy. You
can read his blog at arafatkazi.com.