Among the few things you can count on in life, the Melvins coming through town at least once a year is one of them. Touring in support of their 25th album, A Walk with Love & Death, the band had a full house at Trees on Saturday night and no one left unsatisfied.
Brooklyn, New York trio Spotlights kicked the evening off with a solid 45-minute set of sludge-rock/shoegaze madness. Through the first couple of songs I thought they sounded a lot like the Melvins, but deeper into their set I began to appreciate their individual style and sound. The band also received a hugely enthusiastic reception from the crowd. No one seemed to show up late for this bill. Indeed, there was a fair amount of Spotlight fans in the crowd and they were there to make sure the band was received warmly. Mario and Sarah Quintero, playing guitar and bass respectively, and drummer Chris Enriquez didn’t need to do much to warm up the crowd, nevertheless they played their guts out and put on one hell of a show. This band is definitely something to witness. They’re loud, crisp, and tight as a vise.
Having seen the Melvins on their last three stops through Dallas, I knew to expect a great show. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something about last night that surpassed their previous performances. Buzz Osborne, wearing his trademark muumuu, and bassist Stephen McDonald, wearing a fur vest, stalked the stage with their instruments, infusing each riff with a palpable heaviness that is to be heard to be believed. Of course, drummer Dale Crover is the anchor of the band and there are very few others who can match both his style and presence. The band members didn’t engage in any witty banter with the crowd, rather they were all business. Melvins area band whose music does the talking. They’re not their to ham it up with the crowd, but to deliver their songs at the highest level of quality. And they never disappoint.
The set traversed three decades of Melvins albums, including songs from Ozma, Lysol, and Stoner Witch. But, the tracks from A Walk with Love & Death were particularly great. Love & Death is their first full-length album with McDonald and the band seemed to thrive off the material. Always with a cover or two, the bands rendition of the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was perfectly Melvins and perfectly bonkers. I’m not even sure half the crowd realized what song they were playing. Nevertheless, it was a delightful addition to the set. Other highlights from the show included “The Kicking Machine” from Nude with Boots and “It’s Shoved” from Bullhead. Mario and Sarah from Spotlights joined the band for the final two songs, “Hung Bunny” and “Roman Dog Bird,” adding an energy to the culmination of the show that begged for an encore. Not that the crowd wasn’t great, but they didn’t demand one. Still, everyone seemed perfectly happy with what they got.
Melvins and Spotlights is a great bill and you should make every attempt to go see them. Don’t sleep on Spotlights. This band kicks a ton of ass and seeing them will make your ding-dong life better. If you don’t see Melvins every time they come to your town, you’re missing out. They’re as good as anyone in terms of live performance and you will want to thank them for the ringing in your ears.
– J. Kevin Lynch
Melvins Tour Dates
9/10 — San Antonio, Texas — Paper Tiger
9/11 — Houston, Texas — Warehouse Live (Studio)
9/13 — New Orleans, La. –One Eyed Jack’s
9/14 — Pensacola, Fla. — Vinyl Music Hall
9/15 — Jacksonville, Fla. — Jack Rabbit’s
9/16 — Tampa, Fla. — The Orpheum
9/17 — Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. — The Culture Room
9/18 — Orlando, Fla. — The Social
9/20 — Athens, Ga. — 40 Watt Club
9/21 — Atlanta, Ga. — The Masquerade (Hell Stage)
9/22 — Nashville, Tenn. — 3rd & Lindsley
9/23 — Memphis, Tenn. — Hi-Tone
9/25 — Madison, Wis. — High Noon Saloon
9/26 — Rock Island, Ill. — Rock Island Brewing Co.
9/27 — Des Moines, Iowa — Wooly’s
9/28 — Omaha, Neb. — The Waiting Room
9/30 — Ft. Collins, Colo. — Aggie Theatre
10/2 — Albuquerque, N.M. — The Launchpad
10/3 — Flagstaff, Ariz. — The Green Room