Words by Pietro C. Truba :: Images by Aaron Williams
Primus :: 11.14.06 :: State Theatre :: Detroit, MI
Detroit's State Theatre is a good fit for Primus. With the venue's gothic light fixtures and medieval armor, fans of the wild and weird felt right at home amidst the decor. Speaking of weird, leave it to Les Claypool to enlist a band like Rasputina to open the show.
Primus :: 11.11.06
Featuring two cellos and a thrown-together drum set, Rasputina was a power trio unlike any other. It was interesting enough, but soon the Native American head-dressed female cellist was gone and Rasputina had left the stage. Replacing Rasputina, a gigantic inflatable astronaut rose up and hovered over the stage as the real power trio came out.
Primus began their one set with "To Defy The Laws of Tradition" from their album Frizzle Fry. "Defy," a fairly-common opener for this tour, opened the show with a bang and immediately gave the crowd that signature Claypool slap-bass for which they had been itching. The fans directly in front of Claypool were the most animated throughout the night, but a mosh-pit in the center kept people moving. The jam during "Defy" was a clear highlight as Claypool's finger-tapping bass notes lingered with guitarist Larry LaLonde's own finger-tapping riffs. As the crowd chanted the chorus, "Here Come The Bastards" appeared with Claypool and LaLonde further trading licks. Towards the end, Claypool grabbed his microphone stand to use as a slide, grating it up and down the strings of his bass.
Les Claypool :: Primus :: 11.11.06
"American Life" had Claypool and drummer Tim Alexander locked up perfectly as Claypool's bass line and Alexander's frantic fills meshed into one. "Those Damn Blue-Collard Tweekers" followed, for more from Sailing The Sea of Cheese. "Tweekers" sent the main floor into a shit-fit as the mosh-pit saw sweaty bodies careening like pinballs. Crowd-surfers littered the show, and people kept throwing various things at Claypool, including a few sandals and a shirt. The lights pulsed on the crowd as Claypool played an upright bass with a bow, grinding and slapping it across the strings creating a sound akin to a whale mating while getting in a ten care pile up on the freeway.
Taking one off Pork Soda, Claypool stayed on the upright for "Mr. Krinkle." Stealing the show for a brief minute, Alexander's ensuing drum solo was executed perfectly. Drum solos are often unnecessary, annoying, almost masturbatory, but Alexander's was short, powerful and to the point. As Claypool and LaLonde came back, the drum solo soon gave way to "Eleven."
Primus :: 11.11.06
The crowd filled the open air after "Eleven" with chants of "Primus sucks! Primus sucks!" Claypool responded, "Well... I'm not arguing with that." After a fan asked him to "Play something sweet," Claypool answered by teasing "Mary The Ice Cube," asking LaLonde if he was feeling his "sweetness." After Claypool said, "Fuck that," to "Mary The Ice Cube," they slammed into "Shake Hands With Beef." Claypool seemed to get a bit frustrated during "Shake Hands," walking offstage at one point with his hands in the air. However, "Groundhog's Day" closed out the set with authority. LaLonde's guitar work really took the lead for the first time all night, providing stellar solos with heavy, screeching sounds pouring out of his guitar. The strobe lights beat on the crowd as Claypool slapped out huge bass thumps to finish the show. For a brief three-minute encore, "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver" was highlighted by LaLonde's hectic slide-guitar style that sent his hands up and down the fret board at a frantic pace.
As the lights came over the house it was nice to see Tool fans next to hippies. Some folks screamed in approval as others booed the short set. While Primus did little to push the show over-the-top, with such talented players and enough testosterone-filled energy to flatten a football team it was difficult not to get something from the experience. Yeah, Primus sucks!
JamBase | Detroit
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