Everyone I know was rubbing it in my face(book) that they were having the time of their goddamn lives at Total Fest. But I wasn’t gonna let it get me down because I had a golden ticket for the second night of the Seattle stop of the Melvins 30th Anniversary tour (Saturday, August 17, 2013, Neumos). If I were to take an educated guess of how many times I’ve seen the Melvins play (an average of something like twice a year since I first saw them back in 1992) I’d say I’ve probably seen them somewhere around 42 times, give or take. In that 42 times, I’ve heard them perform some pretty heavy shit. I’ve seen them play with Joe Preston, Mark D., Trevor Dunn and Leif fuckin’ Garrett. I thought I’d seen them do everything there is to do and play everything there is to play. I thought for sure there was nothing else they could possibly pull out to dazzle the masses on their anniversary tour. I was wrong.
The night’s set started out with the Dale Crover / Coady Willis drumming machine rev-rev-revving up in seamless, booming jet-engine unison for the intro of ‘Hag Me.’ Buzzo, clad in his usual Gargamel-styled frock, thundered “I GOT MY CEILING…” and punished the strings of his aluminum, 2-piece, Electrical Guitar Company battle axe. J.D. Pinkus of the tour’s opening band, Honky (formerly of Butthole Surfers), was manning the bass in lieu of Jared Warren, who’s out for this tour on paternity leave (congrats Jared!), and even up here in front of what can admittedly be a somewhat skeptical crowd in the Pacific Northwest (WHO–US?!) that southern boy fit in better ‘n a second shot of bourbon in glass of Texas sweet tea. The four of them conjured up a storm of thick, thumping sludge as they roared through a catalog of songs dating back to 1991:
Hag Me (Houdini, 1993) War on Wisdom (The Bull and The Bees, 2012) We are Doomed (The Bull and The Bees, 2012) Sweet Willy Rollbar (Stoner Witch, 1994) A Growing Disgust (Freak Puke, 2012) Let it all be (The Bootlicker, 1999) You’re Blessened (Bullhead, 1991) Night Goat (single 1992 / Houdini, 1993) Lizzy (Houdini , 1993) Billy Fish (Nude with Boots, 2008) Water Glass (The Bride Screamed Murder, 2010) Evil New War God (The Bride Screamed Murder, 2010) Roman Dog Bird (Lysol, 1992)
And then I saw it—something I’d never seen before from the Melvins—something so unexpected yet so welcome that the entire crowd went ape-shit. During the last song, a cover of the Butthole Surfers’ Graveyard, a noticeably fitter than I’ve seen him in years Dale Crover climbed out from behind his drum set, grabbed a fucking hula hoop and came to the front of the stage. Then, from his hips to his neck, one of the most amazing drummers you’ll ever see capped off the 30th Anniversary of the Melvins by hula hooping his ever-loving heart out.