The Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa was rocked to the foundations Wednesday night as the Melvins and their entourage plowed through town. Visual artist Dalek’s animated short, A Purge of Dissidents, kicked things off by injecting a healthy dose of vitamin weird into the mix.
The film ran for about 20 minutes as it followed the exploits of demented, cycloptic mouse-like things (known as “Space Monkeys”) that have a knack for producing knives out of nowhere in order to stab themselves and other characters. Oh, and did I mention they bleed a lot? Because they do (we’re talking lakes of blood); think Itchy and Scratchy on acid. A Purge of Dissidents is essentially a collage of 10 episodes with titles such as “The Antichrist,” “The Emperor Smokes Crack” and “The GOP Will Set Me Free.” It is a walk into the abstract and demented imagination of Dalek, and it served as an appetizer for the main course.
After A Purge of Dissidents, Big Business took the stage and fired up the atmosphere with a solid set. The founding members of Big Business, Coady Willis (drums) and Jared Warren (bass, vocals), were joined by the Melvins’ own Dale Crover (on guitar) for their set. By the time Big Business finished their hour-long set, the crowd of thrift-store-clothing-wearing alterna-freaks was ready for the Melvins.
When the Melvins took the stage, it became time for the members of Big Business to join them for their set (a standard procedure since 2006 when Willis and Warren became part of the Melvins). Buzz Osborne (guitar, vocals)—better known as “King Buzzo”—sported a military camouflage smock and his trademark Sideshow Bob 'fro. Dale Crover and Coady Williams played drums side by side (that’s right: two drummers were playing simultaneously) and Jared Warren (bass, vocals) continued displaying his bass skills.
Although the Melvins have been around since the early ‘80s, they continue to produce some of the most innovative rock music (did I mention they have two drummers?). Older songs such as “Lizzy” (from the 1993 album Houdini) were played side by side with new songs such as “Blood Witch” (off of last year's (A) Senile Animal ) in a seamless fashion. There are those who say that grunge is dead; that hard rock has lost its innovation, but the unbridled headbanging, and fuck yeahs coming from the crowd last night say otherwise—even if Buzzo’s 'fro has turned gray.