by Jeff Hahne
Primus w/ The Dead Kenny G's
The Fillmore Charlotte
June 1, 2011
The Deal: Primus returns to the stage with its original lineup to showcase new songs and offer glimpses of the past.
The Good: The night got started with a 45-minute set by the mostly instrumental Dead Kenny G's. Hitting the stage in white suits with red splatters on them and curly wigs, the jazz-metal infused trio bounced between driving drum heavy rhythms and sax-driven jazz flutters. Overall, it was one of those bands that gets the crowd warmed up as the collective audience goes between enjoying the playfulness and wondering what the hell is going on.
Primus hit the stage shortly after 9 p.m. on their way to a two-hour set that mixed new songs with plenty of old stuff. There was nothing from the band's sixth studio effort, Antipop, but I'm sure no one missed that lackluster effort. Instead, the band launched into "Pudding Time," which was followed by a new song "Mennepin" on the on-stage setlist, known as "Pie in the Sky" by fan forums and "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers."
The next song, "Groundhog's Day" offered the first chance for guitarist Larry LaLonde to shine with a solo. Singer/bassist Les Claypool introduced what followed by saying, "Here's a song that we don'g play to often," before starting "Mr. Knowitall."
Claypool didn't address the crowd often, only stopping at one other moment to ask people if the Fillmore was a new venue. He then asked if it was older than one or two years, noted the chandeliers hanging above and its similarities to the Fillmore in San Francisco. He wrapped up by saying, "Is this a cool place? We don't want to be playing no shitholes."
Original drummer Jay Lane was back in the fold and was given lengthy time in the middle of the night to showcase a drum solo. Claypool, dressed with a monkey mask hit the stage in the middle of it with his whamola for a brief contribution of his own, before strutting back off stage.
The stage was lined with two astronauts, "Buzz" and "Neil," with masks that had videos projected on their masks. There were salmon during new song "The Salmon Man" and random faces, including that of Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz during the band's intro.
The set wrapped up with a quartet of songs including the appropriately-named off-time throbbing of "Eleven," crowd favorite "My Name is Mud" and closer "Harold of the Rocks."
A three-song encore featured two new songs, "Jilly's On Smack" and "The Green Ranger" before closing the night with "Here Come the Bastards." Claypool gave a tip of his hat before walking off the stage.
The Bad: A blurry video on the right astronaut's mask was fixed a few songs into the night. Used as a term of affection, there was only one brief chant of "Primus sucks!"
The Verdict: Sure, there were plenty of favorites left off the setlist, but it was great to hear some new material and just see Primus back on stage. Claypool is always a wizard on the bass, as well.
Pie in the Sky/Mennepin
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
The Last Salmon Man (Fisherman's Chronicles, Part 4)
Over The Falls
Drum and Whamola Jam
Over the Electric Grapevine
My Name Is Mud
Harold of the Rocks
Jilly's on Smack
The Green Ranger
Here Come the Bastards