PRIMUS, MASTODON, and JJUUJJUU
Los Angeles, California
July 5, 2018
Writing and Photography by TourBusLive.com
The weather wasn’t the only hot thing happening in L.A. one day after all the 4th of July fireworks – on July 5th, the air around the Greek Theatre was sweltering from both the heat and the bands on stage that night – PRIMUS, MASTODON, and JJUUJJUU – a great show – brought to you by none other than 95.5 KLOS!
Just as the sun was radiating the last of its light, local band JJUUJJUU, who is touring with the line-up on their early summer stops, (and who also opened for Les Claypool when he toured with Sean Lennon as The Claypool Lennon Delirium in 2016), took the stage and played a fiery set of originals to the slowly-but-eagerly entering crowd. Fronted by local musician PHIL PIRRONE on guitar and vocals, JJUUJJUU (the hardest band name I’ve ever had to type) is, as they themselves describe, a “rotating ensemble of domestic and international collaborators, wrangled by Los Angeles based musician [Pirrone].’ And they sure put on an energy-filled thirty minutes that helped bring the sun to set.
Eagerly awaiting my first time seeing them since they toured with Alice In Chains in 2010, MASTODON then took the stage. Always a steamy set of the ultimate in prog/metal, Mastodon did not disappoint – not one bit. Lead singer (and bassist) TROY SANDERS (a pirate, if I ever saw one), dueling metal guitarists BRENT HINDS (also on vocals) and BILL KELLIHER (and his beautiful Pelham Blue ESP LTD Sparrowhawk), and drummer/vocalist BRANN DAILOR had the fans flipping their hair and raising their fists for the better part of their scorching 90-minute set.
And then it was time for the return of PRIMUS! Over the past couple of decades, although they were touring, we’ve only seen Primus tour a few times, although we’ve been lucky enough to see Primus mastermind LES CLAYPOOL (one of the best bassists on the planet – who himself would put the likes of Tony Levin and Geddy Lee, and a several others in the ranks just above him, although we think he’s coming in on a tie for first) in many of his solo projects, including Colonel Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, CC’s Bucket of Brains, the Duo de Twang, and the aforementioned Delirium collaboration with Sean Lennon. These shows, along with PRIMUS gigs, have always yielded an evening of fun (and even one very painful, but totally worth-it, honor-badge-of-a black eye for this front row girl).
On tour this time around with Primus is Claypool, along with original drummer TIM “HERB” ALEXANDER and nearly original guitarist LARRY “LER” LALONDE (both also on backing vocals). The No Cal trio is on the road – celebrating 34 years as a band – and featuring their newest (and ninth) studio album DESATURATING SEVEN – which was greatly inspired by Italian author Ul De Rico’s 1978 children’s book “The Rainbow Goblins. After a few songs (just long enough for the photographers to get some stills in the pit), Claypool dumped his ten-gallon derby (the drummer doesn’t have the only high-hat on THIS stage) for the typically aberrant Claypool stage garb – this time, a rams head hood and full black cape that was worn through the next stage of the set list, which featured the new album in its entirety. Brightly painted images taken from the illustrations in the ’78 children’s tale blazed across the giant screens behind the band. The images, like the book, immerse the imagination in a world beyond – where mythical goblins greedily try to capture the rainbow. This dark tale of these devious goblins (they eventually drown while on their quest) fits perfectly in the magical world that has always been created by Primus.
The new album is, in fact, quintessential Primus – mixing that old-school indisputable and distinguishable Claypool slap bass with the foot-stomping rhythm of those drums – as the nose-crinkling, metal-sign-raising solos of the guitar riffs float above the heavy bottom – literally the timeless and classic sound of Primus. It’s as if the nearly 30 years has not passed since they recorded their first LP – Frizzle Fry.
And after the new album was played through, Claypool dumped his rams head hood and black flowing cape and went back to his distinctive towering top hat – ending the evening with a few other favorites – and a few surprises. In fact, TOOL drummer DANNY CAREY and MASTODON drummer BRANN DAILOR joined PRIMUS on stage to pound the toms for a wonderful cover of Peter Gabriel’s song INTRUDER (from Gabriel’s 3rd solo album released in 1980 – the one that, fittingly on this night in the L.A. heat, the fans call MELT! You know, the one that had “Games Without Frontiers” and “Biko” on it!). Brann Dailor, by the way, is a BRAVE SOUL – he took on the whistle solo. Talk about pressure!
And as the night breeze came in and cooled the air just ever so slightly, Claypool announced it was time for the last song. Noting the ‘hard curfew” they have to adhere to at the Greek (I hear it’s $1,000 a minute fine as well as a local crew overage of $2,750 per half hour to go over the 10:30 p.m. end time), Claypool joked that the band had planned on covering all of RUSH HEMISHPERES (this Rush fan was a little sad to even think that joke could be true), but ended the night with an equally-wonderful show stopper – Primus’s TOMMY THE CAT. All the fans love that one!
And speaking of Primus fans – they have never stopped supporting their quirky heroes – and Claypool really takes that to heart. A few lucky fans (who bought a pre-show VIP meet and greet) were given a real treat (as long as they were 21+) – a personal wine tasting from Claypool Cellars – pre-show backstage – where Les and his wife Chaney served up sample snifters from their own vineyard! Amazing!
Yeah – that was one great way to spend a sizzling post-holiday summer night! Thanks, Primus, Mastodon, and JJUUJUU!
SPOTTED IN THE CROWD: KLOS’s own Street Team, actor and huge music fan (and documentarian of the story of Tower Records) COLIN HANKS (yes, son of Tom), TOOL drummer DANNY CAREY, who later ended on up stage (as mentioned above). OH, and our friend PAUL RICHARDS of the CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO, who, almost ten years ago to this very night, introduced Les Claypool to his bass idol Tony Levin when they were all on the bill together for the Quebec City Summer Festival 2008. Always love hearing about our idols meeting their idols!
Order Claypool Cellars wine here: http://claypoolcellars.com/
JJUUJUU SET LIST:
MASTODON SET LIST:
Toe to Toes
Ghost of Karelia
PRIMUS SET LIST:
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
Too Many Puppies
Eyes of the Squirrel
NEW ALBUM – “The Desaturating Seven”
Intruder (PETER GABRIEL cover)
Welcome to This World
My Name Is Mud
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver
Tommy the Cat