Melvins are in Dallas for the third time in 16 months. The previous two visits were headlining tours, this time they’re sandwiched between Japan’s Melt Banana and the UK’s Napalm Death as part of the Savage Imperial Death March tour. Even though the band is playing a shorter set than usual, they still manage 18 some-odd songs. Oh, did I mention they’re playing with a different bass player this time? Yep, Steve McDonald of legendary bands Red Kross and OFF! is holding down the low-end. The set featured songs across the Melvins catalog, as well as 6 covers. These included songs by Seattle legends Green River and Malfunkshun, Kiss, two by Alice Cooper, and Red Kross (cool!).
Buzz, Dale, and McDonald played like they’ve been playing together for years. Having last seen the band with the Butthole Surfers’ JD Pinkus, I was curious how well McDonald would slip into the groove on only the third date of the tour. He didn’t let me down. And when the band kicked in to Redd Kross’ “Frosted Flake,” I legitimately giggle with joy inside. Dale Crover was a blur of arms, hands, and drumsticks; all while adding backing vocals. Buzz Osborne was also in fine form. It still amazes me how he can control volume. They’re unequivocally loud as fuck, but I can always hear everything Buzz is playing.
The eclectic touring partners drew a typically eclectic crowd. Patchouli wearing alterna-chicks with dreadlocks crawled out from beneath their rocks to take in the show alongside bro’s wearing shorts and UT Longhorns t-shirts. Metalheads obviously congregated to bang their heads alongside white-haired men drinking Coors light from those bottle shaped cans. Overall, the crowd was in a great mood and received each band warmly. During the Melvins set, stage-divers were enthusiastic and plentiful. So much so, Dale Crover gently asked the crowd “Is this Hot Topic? Are we Green Day? Then get off the fucking stage!” The crowd laughed and not another stage dive was attempted. When all was said and done, I didn’t feel short-changed by the Melvins brief-ish set. They played a ton of songs, gelled with their latest bass player, and typically rocked the house. Did I want more? Well, sure. But, I feel that way after one of their headlining sets.
– J. Kevin Lynch