In the Punchbowl with Primus and the Meat Puppets

I've seen Primus over five times now, and this was the best performance I've seen by them. They were tight and flawless, improvised a lot, played some off-beat stuff, a lot of old stuff, and a good bit of the new. It was an excellent set list and a brilliant performance.

They started off by playing Groundhog's Day, and immediately people who had been relatively quiet during the opening act started throwing stuff on stage. Once again, Claypool made his comment about people with small penises. After Groundhog's Day, John the Fisherman got the full house crowd was really moving.

They went on to play Damned Blue Collared Tweekers, Professor Nutbutter, and Mrs. Blaileen, which is their latest single. All of these, particular the former two, got a decent crowd response. At some point, Les pulled out his standup bass, announced "Well, you've had your fun; now it's our turn", and went on to play De Anza Jig. The funny thing is that I love this song and can really groove to it, whereas most of the crowd stood still for this one. The standup bass was then used for Sailing the Seas of Cheese.

They played a bunch of other songs, which included Bob, Mr. Knowitall, Toys Go Winding Down, Pudding Time, Over the Electric Grapevine, Southbound Pachderm, My Name is Mud, and Wynona's Big Brown Beaver (which got the best crowd reaction). Many of these songs contained some sort of improvisation. Besides the Nature Boy/Hello Skinny medley (which has become one of my favourite tunes of late), they started off with what I thought would be Eleven, but just before the time where the vocals kicked in, they went into their one-and-a-half minute rendition of Metallica's Master of Puppets. In what could be called the height of cheesiness, LaLonde played a bit of the intro to Stairway to Heaven. But what else did you expect from Primus?

The set and lights were excellent. Once again, we had the huge cutouts of worms and pachyderms in the background. Amusingly enough, was that at the side of the stage was a beaver strung up on a noose. This was the first time I was at the UMBC Field House in Baltimore, and while the venue is somewhat small, I thought acoustics were pretty decent and the view was excellent.

For the first encore, Primus came back and did a bit of King Crimson's Sartori in Tangier and followed it by a pounding version of Jerry was a Race Car Driver. For the second encore, they finished off with Is it Luck and Tommy the Cat.

Meat Puppets opened the show with Scum, and closed with Backwater. Both of these songs are radio hits, the former from their latest album, No Joke!, and the latter from their previous one, Too High to Die. They played an aggressive punkish set which consisted mostly of songs from their new album. I would recommend seeing the Meat Puppets even if Primus wasn't opening for them, but together, these two acts are a must see!

It was fun to meet the band again. This time we had a bit more time to talk, though Les wasn't in the best of moods. The new Sausage album won't be coming out for a long time. The CD+ is almost done will be out sometime January. A www page to support this release should be out in conjunction. Ler fiddling with the dials on Conan O'Brian was natural. Thanks to David Lefkowitz and Trouz for the passes.

Music ram-blings || The Cheesy Primus Page || Ram Samudrala || || November 25, 1995