Primus is like running out of your mind, alone in the dark. It’s perfectly terrifying, but you are so perplexed that you keep going without considering why or how you got there. As such, Les, Ler, and Lane—the incarnation that is Primus— sucks you into a world that you believed could only exist on an acid trip.
With tumbling drum rolls and eerie guitar screeches, the band establishes an overtly spacey vibe—giant astronauts included, guarding each side of the stage. Staying true to their funk-metal genus, they drift between rock and a moody jam band, setting the atmosphere with muffled rumbles and screams opposite crowd bouncing, catchy bluegrass-esque jangles. The sound comes together as something like psychedelic ska, melding to form a cultural landscape laced with shred solos and deep drumbeats.
Watching Primus on stage, it’s as if the trio exists in a shared reverie, unaware of the crowd in front of them. They create their own universe with each note, with Les as the sinister bassist master. One minute you may think you are listening to thumping aliens communicating across galaxies, while the next you are face to face with wonky battle robots in some unknown apocalypse. Primus takes you through their moods, rolling up and down, and dropping you back into the ghastly, painfully dull reality at the end of each song.
Les addresses Ler in a much too conventional, even goofy sounding voice: “Give them a little piece of sophistication.”
And Ler rips blues, tearing listeners’ hearts out of their chests and holds them bleeding in his palm. Though he strums away our realities and sorrows, it seems it is the drums that provide the soul of the band, holding it together and bringing it to crescendo.
For the latter half, Les, veiled by an ominous pig guise, pushes and pulls his bow against an electric standing bass, creating an unnerving scene. He goes on to speak to the audience, divulging that his grandfather, who played “Tommy the Cat” in his video, died early that morning. He then dedicates a song to him, churning the masses to sing and dance to the heavens.
With a crushingly extensive sound, Primus develops impressive vibrant soundscapes, building anticipation and then exploding. With a kiss of a new sound, they revert back to the pattern, teasing listeners, until that facet is revealed once again. There is a certain level of intensity as they take you to their wonderland and give you a flash tour in a rocket.
Primus, in its space funk / grunge dance / party ambiance, is unquestionably compelling to say the least and leaves a flood of jumping fans yearning for more. This set could arguably have been one of, if not the best of, the Bottle Rock series.