Primus - Fox Theater Pomona - May 19, 2013
Mary Bell / OC Weekly Les Claypool of Primus
Fox Theater Pomona
May 19, 2013
Primus 3-D is an experience most people's senses aren't ready to handle. Mine definitely weren't. I don't necessarily blame it on the band, who opened their crazy new live show to a packed house at the Fox Theater Pomona. Every time I try to partake in a visually intense production like that, I always get a nasty migraine. But it was worth it for the amount of weird, dynamic visuals happening behind Les Claypool, Jay Lane and Larry "Ler" LaLonde. During the opening licks of "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweakers," the crowd got a visit from Salad Fingers, the famous, creepy-looking, post-apocalyptic Internet cartoon.
It was cool to see a character that is very large in the underground alternative world be used in a video for the opening song. The images chosen for the show coincided with every note of their performance. For instance, during some of the instrumental parts of the opening track, Salad Fingers looked as though he were bobbing his head along to the music.
One of the only complaints I have about the show is how dark they kept each of the members onstage. I understand that from a theatrical point of view, they were merely acting as tools in service of the whole production, but it would have been nice to see some of Claypool's wacky bass techniques performed under proper lighting. Even without the full sight of the band, Primus' distinct sounds have kept them around all these years. And although I could kind of see it during some songs, it was not very clear throughout the show.
Since they have such a wide variety of songs in their catalog, you never know what you are going to get from Claypool and company. I was trying to locate the set list--in hopes of keeping an eye on what they were playing and what song was coming up next. To my surprise, there was nothing similar about the set they had played the night before; there isn't even a set list taped to the stage. It is nice to see a band that like to keep each show fresh. This kind of concert is what I imagine Phish and Grateful Dead shows to be like. It was three hours of virtuosic jamming, with no one trying to hurry the band off the stage.
Primus did not have an opening band, and when they tell you they start at 8 p.m., they mean it. They do have an intermission between set one and set two, which is a Popeye cartoon. These are not new experiences for me, personally, since I have a heavy theater background, but for many concertgoers, it must've been weird to watch a band take a break then come back out to rock.
Of course, Claypool couldn't end a set without playing their greatest tracks, "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver." The former was chosen by the band, while the latter was hand-picked by a young fan whom Claypool had brought onstage. The crowd wanted to hear the classic '90s hit, but that was none of Claypool's concern. The song continues to be a gateway drug for the average Primus fan. After all these years, the tune still sounds as fresh and wonderfully weird as ever.
The Crowd: Stoned fans, dancing and passing bowls. That's the best description, as there was such a variety of people, it's hard to pinpoint an answer.
Quote From the Crowd: "Whoa, man, you're blowing my mind about your music knowledge."