DR and I went to see the Melvins perform the other night and the experience was incredible: so loud I could feel it in my chest, knocking the wind out of me—a listening experience become corporeal. It was oddly satisfying, having the sound completely enveloping the room and us.
The Melvins have been around for at least twenty years, and in this latest incarnation have two drummers: Dale Crover, who has been with the band almost since its inception, and Coady Willis (also drummer of the band Big Business) who has been with the band since 2006 or so. The power and precision of these two is incredible. Willis plays lefty and Crover plays righty, so their kits are a mirror image of each other—even sharing two enormous floor toms. The two play in unison, the same beats and fills—it’s like listening to the heaviest marching band drum line you’ve ever heard. When they’re not playing in synch, they’re crafting fantastic improvisations, playing off of and against each other.
The guitar (founding member Buzz “King Buzzo” Osborne) and bass (Jared Warren, also a member of Big Business) sounds were perfect, filling the spaces between the drums, tonally—and exponentially—expanding the sound experience. It was like feeling a motorcycle’s sound as it rides past, or like being at a parade as a loud marching band passes by, feeling the sound in your chest and lungs, making you a little out of breath. Or like being at the beach in some rough surf, and a huge wave towers over you, and you dive under it and feel its power as it sweeps over you and pounds the shore.
The band played for over an hour, with no breaks for chatting with the audience—just performing straight through. I was often torn between watching the action on stage (and observing the young’uns in the “mosh pit” that had formed in front of the stage) and closing my eyes and letting the vibrations and sounds wash over me. It was super loud, but I had my trusty earplugs that cut all of the unpleasant frequencies out. DR, of course, was in seventh heaven the whole time.