While still a teenager in 1983, Buzz Osborne formed the Melvins with schoolmates from Montesano, Washington. Osborne named the band after a despised co-worker in a convenience store, thinking the Melvins was a ridiculous name for a rock band. Initially, the band played classic rock covers and fast hardcore punk, but gravitated to a more punk-metal-experimental sound. Since 1984, the core of the Melvins has been Osborne (also known as King Buzzo) and drummer Dale Crover, with frequently changing bassists filling out the trio. The Melvins' 24th and most recent album, Hold It In, was released on October 14, 2014.
Headlining at Santos Party House tonight, the Melvins included bassist J.D. Pinkus of the Butthole Surfers. The 19-song set began with 1993's "Hag Me," followed by 2010's "The Water Glass." Although the Melvins have been playing music through four decades, the set featured catalogue only from the 1990s and the present decade, plus a handful of covers. This time around, the covers consisted of the Butthole Surfers' "Graveyard" and "Moving to Florida," the James Gang's "Stop," the Wipers' "Youth of America," Pop-O-Pies' "Fascists Eat Donuts" and Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl." Droning vocals, distorted guitar leads, thick-bottomed bass, crashing drums and cymbals, this sludgy stoner rock hit like a tsunami, and the only way to survive was to float to the top. Whether fast or slow, the music was loud, harsh and heavy. Even the tamest songs grooved along a melody for a while and then were injected with coarse, amplified noise before they ended. The music scene needs radical concerts like this in order to keep the less extreme artists centered.
Visit the Melvins at www.themelvins.net.