Chris Loomis

Melvins @ The Observatory – 09/04/2019

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It’s challenging to classify the Melvins style of music (Sludge, Doom, Experimental, Alternative, etc) but one thing is certain – these noise making pioneers have influenced just about every band out there with their unique and heavy sound. Hitting the road for a 10 week “Escape from LA” Tour, the Melvins along with Redd Kross as well as recording artist Toshi Kasai made a stop at The Observatory in Santa Ana on Wednesday night September 4. Also playing on this night were Southern California Punk Rockers The Side Eyes.

After Toshi Kasai kicked off the night, The Side Eyes took the stage for 30 minutes of insanity. Now this was a special event with The Side Eyes on this bill as vocalist Astrid McDonald is the daughter of Redd Kross frontman Jeff McDonald and niece of Redd Kross/Melvins bass player Steven Shane McDonald – a true family affair indeed on this night. The Side Eyes are a classic angst driven punk band that play fast and aggressive and McDonald certainly has the charisma and attitude to front the band. Be sure to check out these young punks if you get the opportunity.

Called the seminal Los Angeles band, Redd Kross has been around since the early 80’s and are just pure talent and extremely fun to see and hear live. Vocalist/guitarist Jeff McDonald along with brother Steven Shane McDonald (bass) are magic together, each trading off vocals and harmonizing throughout the show. On drums is none other than Dale Crover of the Melvins who is without a doubt one of the best drummers in existence. The band is rounded out by guitarist Jason Shapiro who also adds a bit of backing vocals. The band played a mix of tunes from throughout their existence including songs from their recent August 23 release Beyond the Door.

The capacity crowd at The Observatory was ready for the Melvins as the pit in front of the stage quickly became jammed packed with fans. The band hit the stage with “Sesame Street Meat” and the chaos began and never stopped. Vocalist/guitarist Buzz Osborne with his iconic hair style led the band through some 18 songs of pure exotic heaviness. The one guarantee with the Melvins is you never know what you will get live – earlier this year they toured with two bass players (Jeff Pinkus) – on this night it was just the trio of Osborne, Dale Crover on drums and Steven Shane McDonald on bass (the latter two who already performed a 60 minute set with Red Kross). Also the Melvins sure mix up their set lists from tour to tour in a big way – with some 30 albums in their catalog it must be hard to choose songs but easy to never duplicate a set list.

For whatever reason there was no barricade separating the crowd from the stage on this night and fans were jumping on stage and diving back into the crowd continuously – at one point Crover politely asked the crowd to keep off the stage but nobody listened as there was continuous crowd surfing onto the stage through the performance. Osborne has some of the heaviest and sludgy guitar tones known to man with his unique gear setup and using aluminum guitars (body and Neck). The night ended with a unique cover of the KISS classic “Deuce”. Catch these legends through early November when they end the tour back in Southern California in Los Angeles at The Echo.

Melvins Set List:

Sesame Street Meat | The Kicking Machine | Anaconda | Queen | It’s Shoved | Oven | With Yo’ Heart, Not Yo’ Hands (Malfunkshun cover) | Billy Fish | Charlie (Redd Kross cover) | Goin’ Blind (KISS cover) | Civilized Worm | Hooch | Honey Bucket | A Growing Disgust | Your Blessened | The Bit | With Teeth | Deuce (KISS cover)

The Side Eyes Photo Gallery:

Redd Kross Photo Gallery:

Melvins Photo Gallery:

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