PRIMUS at Kool Haus, November 23. Tickets: $33.50. Attendance: 2,000. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
kool haus is a huge, cold rectangular wasteland suited more to forklifts and skids than amps and guitars. That a band can make it feel as intimate as a small club says a lot. As soon as Primus graced the stage, the insanely long line and the meat-headed, bullying security staff were forgotten.
It's been seven long years since the band slipped from view, and the world just hasn't seemed right. At last Sunday's reappearance, old black-and-white movie clips were projected onto two round screens and orange lights flooded the stage, while the smoke of a thousand cigarettes greeted the oddball trio.
Imagine a world where Captain Beefheart is just too pop and James Brown isn't funky enough. This is Les Claypool 's world. His lyrics seem to be channelling Lewis Carroll, and the song structure has more of the far-out feel of interplanetary travel than anything three chords could ever contain.
Only fitting, then, that the second song was To Defy The Laws Of Tradition, something Primus does with ease. Creating a fury that climaxes 10 times within each song, draining the crowd of pent-up energy, and leaving a smile on your face that's second only to that post-coital grin are just part of the deal.
Rumour had it that the show would be split into two sets, the second being a complete performance of their classic album Sailing The Seas Of Cheese. For once, rumour became reality, and a more than welcome one after an all-too-long intermission.
An upright bass and a long bow in Claypool's hand signalled the beginning of Seas Of Cheese. Larry Lalonde 's crunching guitar and Tim Alexander 's skin assault whipped the crowd into a frenzy as body surfers made their way to the front of the stage.
A brief sermon from Les about the perils of flash photography was good for a few laughs, but Primus mostly let the music do the talking. A night filled with highlights was topped by a show-stopping version of Too Many Puppies from 1990's Frizzle Fry. After more than two hours, the band seemed confident that they had fulfilled the needs of a hungry crowd.