Dave Fensome was positively moist with anticipation for this one, so did Primus live up to expectations ? Read on and find out…..
It’s been a good long time since Primus last played in the UK, 14 whole years in fact. But after a lengthy hiatus they’re back with their original drummer, Jay Lane,and a spanky new studio album “Green Naugahyde”.
You’ve always got to ask questions about the motivation of bands reforming after such a long time away, and let’s be honest you can normally trace it back to a festival promoter waving an industrial sized cheque in their general direction. Whilst that may apply to the headline-worthy System of a Down’s of this world, Primus were always much more of a fringe concern in the UK. Of course, like all good cult sensations, those that love Primus, REALLY love them, and this accounts for the totally sold out 02 Brixton Academy, as well as huge amount of excitement and anticipation amongst my friends (none of whom are going to be seeing 30 again in a hurry).
We didn’t arrive in time for the support act, as there were beers, and what was either tequila or possibly hair spray to be consumed in the bar round the corner. So by the time we arrived the stage set of 2 huge inflatable cartoon spacemen were in place, and you knew immediately that you were at a Primus show. But what would they play? Would it be a greatest hits run of the big tracks? or heavy on the new (as yet unreleased) material? The answer was thankfully somewhere in the middle.
Starting with “Damn Blue Collar Tweekers” from “Sailing the Seas of Cheese”, straight into their biggest hit (South Park Theme notwithstanding) “Tommy The Cat” they get the entire venue jumping. As you’d expect the band are as tight as the nuts of a horny quadriplegic, with songs frequently featuring extended jam sections to showcase some of the playing ability that has bought a lot of the crowd here. They manage to stop it short of becoming a self indulgent wank-a-thon though and the jams never outstay their welcome. For me, the middle of the set dipped in pace a little. Slightly too heavily weighted towards newer material, which whilst sounding excellent, is still too unfamiliar too elicit the same response, and a drum and upright-bass-thingy (which the internet informs me is called a “whamola”) jam. This was soon rectified by a superb version of “John the Fisherman”. Shortly after “Jerry was a Racecar Driver” had our middle aged moshpit ™ going absolutely apeshit and the main set closer of “Harold of the Rocks” knocked it out of the park.
By this point, beer overtook common sense and your reviewer got amongst the sweaty topless men of the moshpit for an absolutely storming 5 track encore weighted towards stone cold classics such as “Here Come the Bastards” and “Pudding Time”, and although “The Brown Album’s” “Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread” was a slightly strange choice for a closer, there’s no doubt that the band have done enough to wash away any doubts that they deserve a place as a relevant and vital band. This felt a lot less like an exercise in nostalgia, than it did a welcome back to a sorely missed, and much need slice of weirdness in an increasingly po-faced world.
With seven full studio albums there were always going to be omissions, and “Pork Soda” was definitely under represented, there was nothing at all from underrated ‘98 album “Anti-Pop”, and I’d have traded the Police cover for “Making Plans for Nigel”, “Have a Cigar” or “The Thing that Should Not Be”. But these are the small niggles of a long time fan. Hopefully festival bookers will take note that these guys are back for next year. I can’t think of many bands I’d rather see in the sunshine holding a beer than these guys.