Primus keeps audiences at the San Antonio Majestic Theater captivated by Rush’s worthy tribute | Concert Reviews | San Antonio

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Mike McMahon

Primus kept multimedia on the front and center during the show on Saturday.

Primus brought his intense-but-crazy prog-punk to the Majestic Theater on Saturday for an explosive, multimedia-oriented concert that balanced a stroll through the band’s own catalog with a profound tribute to the rock icons Rush missed.

The show highlighted the connections between the trio, who toured together in 1991. They both have weird fronts and play bass, of course, with Primus’ Les Claypool being the more idiosyncratic. Both also have complex and technical drummers as well as guitarists who are forced to play outside the box to notice the thunder of their bandmates.

The centerpiece of the evening was Tribute Rush, which made up the second set. Primus performed the Canadian trio’s 1977 album Farewell to the kings In its entirety, which turned out to be a good choice as the LP is right in Rush’s most advanced era, balancing intricate acting with forays into the more accessible songwriting that began to show its face at the time.

Primus killed the monsters: “Farewell Kings”, “Xanadu” and “Cygnus X-1”. The band clearly knew the cold stuff and at the same time managed to be loyal to the challenging source material and let it breathe. Rush is known for dense arrangements, and the temptation may be to perform the music more aggressively to energize the room. But Primus leaned back on the throttle, providing their own gentle rotation without changing or reinterpreting the material. Indeed, save the lead on “Cinderella Man”, the performance was remarkably faithful.

Unfortunately, sound issues impaired the performance of the title song, which led from the set. The band moved on through what sounded like a car-blown speaker amplified to the size of the Majestic. The problem lasted only a few minutes, but one could feel the crowd shrinking together until its solution.

Primus’ secret weapon for this set turned out to be drummer Tim “Rabbi” Alexander. His performance felt particularly muscular, apparently nodding to Rush drummer Neil Firth, the man who held the crown as the hardest rock title after the untimely deaths of The Who’s Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham.

Guitarist Larry “Ler” Lund was given the opportunity to shine more openly than he usually does with Primus. After all, Rush from the ’70s is aiming for more riffs than Primus ever gets. And it was hard to get over the appearance of Lund and Claypool both on double necks for a powerful “Xanado”.

If there was one place Primus struggled with Rush material, it was in the vocal department. When the tour was announced just before the epidemic began, grumbles arose from the Peanut Gallery that Claypol would struggle with singing. And even though he treated it like a champion, going for enthusiasm sometimes and dropping an octave on others, it would always be the hardest part of making the gesture.

To be fair to Claypol, who has been plus for 30 years in his run with Primus, Rush’s Gadi Lee has failed to bring out the same vocal lines at the same point in his career. They are, well … too. damn it. High. But while Lee has found a way to make the melodic “Closer To The Heart” work, this particular style is simply not an option for Claypole, whose voice is thinner and even thinner.

However, Claypool’s bass playing was a show that could be seen on the covers and original. Watching him kill Lee’s lines served to emphasize the contrast in his particular style, which is more minimal than might be obvious to casual listeners. While Lee is busy playing a lot of notes, Claypool focuses on the groove and nails it. The technique he uses is exemplary, but when you get down to it, he does not necessarily play a lot of individual characters or fast runs.

However, the evening was not all rushed. Primus thrilled the believers – clearly depending on each character – with an hour-long set of original materials and an after-rush encore that featured two classics.

Primus plays a different set of sets every night, and for the Majestic, they decided to cut some of their groundbreaking album, from 1991 Sailing in the Sea of ​​Cheese. The band hit “American Life” at the beginning of the first set, and most importantly – folded a healthy dose of “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” in the middle Pork soda“My name is Mud” from “Jamband-style sandwich”.

The encore was “Here Come The Bastards” from cheese, Accompanied by the enthusiastically received “Tommy the Cat” who, according to Claypol a fan told him was never heard when Primus hits SA. Course correction!

Another highlight was the new 11-minute melody, “Conspiranoia”, which was performed live for the second time only. The song’s vicious flicker worked better live than in the studio, and the visuals were particularly appropriate.

The trio took a break during the opening of “To Defy the Laws of Tradition,” so that Claypol would apologize for being “late,” that he was joking about a problem with the gas line on his tour bus. Indeed, the opening game Battles was off stage for 45 minutes before Primus hit.

As for Battles, the NYC avant-garde math rock duo dropped a surprisingly well-received set that deviated from a more abstract noise to angular grooves until it was finished. Despite an instrumental outfit, Battles peppered the set with vocal samples, including one that sounded like Yes Anderson of Yes plugged in and ran backwards. It’s hard to open up to a beloved cult action, and the Battles have done an admirable job.

But, in the end, the audience was there for Primus. And San Antonio is a congested town, which adds to The energy of the night. The tangible buzz among the attendees flooding Houston Street as the hour pushed in at midnight indicated that everyone was getting their money’s worth.

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