Melvins and Totimoshi: At the Troubadour on September 15, 2010 in Hollywood, CA By Marcus Solomon

Dec 07, 2010

As always, Melvins blew minds and eardrums, with their own unique brand of magnificent, thunderous, grunge/metal double-drum nonsense. The long-standing Troubadour withstood the sonic blitz with ease, but the audience’s collective sense was absolutely shredded to smithereens…I think. I was so overwhelmed and immersed in the transcendental state brought forth by meditational Melvinism and strong alcohol that the audience seemed to disappear for extended periods of time. I know there was a sold-out crowd in there, and I assume most were in a relative state of consciousness, but when King Buzzo and crew took the stage, I disappeared virtually alone into the abyss of sonic delight. The opening punk/metal/rock trio Totimoshi was appropriately Melviny and was well-received with its offering of lots of fuzzy grit and energetic tempos saturated with clouds of thick echo and screaming wah pedal effects. Fuck yeah! I asked my three guests to score the show on a scale from one to ten. Jessyca gave it a one hundred, Chris gave it a three hundred, and wet-blanket Delmy gave it a seven. Add these scores to mine and that makes infinity, four hundred and seven. Yeah…I really dig Melvins…most people just don’t get it.

It was synchronous and therefore, meant to be. We entered the club right as Totimoshi took the stage. I was immediately reminded of the band High On Fire, which makes sense because I later read in the band’s bio that these musicians used to share a house with the members of High On Fire. I got a good ear…both of which rung for three days afterward. The nonsense word “Totimoshi” was coined by guitarist Tony Aguliar’s mother to describe her mother’s difficulty with the English language. To me, Totimoshi means acid-infused, crunchy, eclectic blues…among other things. No slam dancing here, but rather, a packed roomful of attentively-impressed people rhythmically nodding along to the thick grunge fortified by clean metal/rock interludes and skillful tempo changes. At times, it seemed rather tribal and a bit reminiscent of the industrial band SavageRepublic, like the song, “Seeing Eye,” with its plodding, but weighty simplicity that built to a sludgy-staccato climax. “Opus” was really good too, full of rumbling, nervous intensity, like a gathering wave of tension that ultimately let loose into tumbling psychedelic foam that would make The Mermen proud. Yes, it was a strong and thoroughly enjoyable start to a rapturous evening. It’s amazing how much glorious noise three people can produce. Enjoy:

Melvins wasted no time in following their worthy openers. The energy and momentum generated by Totimoshi was deftly handed over to the powerhouse foursome of Buzz, Dale, Coady, and Jared. Without a word, the band ripped right into the first song, “The Water Glass,” which is also the first song on the shredding new album entitled, The Bride Screamed Murder. Drum roll please, and straight into the kick-drum backed, shout-back vocals sung to the tempo of an army march: “Here we go / Here we go / Here we go […] / Everyday / All the way / In the groove / On the move […] / We are ready, ready, ready […] / Rock me, rock me, rock me / Rock steady…”

It had the booming ambiance of a punk rock pep rally. For this particular live version, the band moved the stomp-vocals to the beginning of the song, whereas on the record it is at the end, right before the ominous, structured cacophony of instrumental sound.  Hey! It WAS a punk rock pep rally. There was pep all over the place. From my vantage point right in front of Buzz, it was difficult to see the other band members. The double drum set up almost completely obscured the percussionists Dale and Coady, while erudite bassist Jared seemed so far away on stage right. No matter, Buzz’s guitar was right in my face and that’s exactly where I wanted to be. I needed a good, hard, guitar-ignited, face and mind melting. Track two from the new album was also song two on the set list. “Evil New War God” was absolutely delicious. It sounded and felt like a ten ton war machine rapidly, steadily, chugging forward to the choppy, eerie end. A little something from the previous album, Nude with Boots, came next. “The Kicking Machine” kicked my ass with its Jimmy Page-like guitar riffage and John Bonham honorific drumwork. Dual drummers Dale and Coady are so tight and together, they seem like a four-armed man with two heads. It was at this point that I realized I was drunk and I felt like I was the only person in the room with Melvins permeating my entire world. To quote the late Mr. Hendrix, “Music sweet music.”

I was literally headbanging because I hit my head several times on the fan Buzz uses to keep cool while playing; it also serves to make his weirdo-fro fly upward for those super-cool concert photos. Every so often, somebody would shout some lyrics into my face, jump up in down in unison with me (oh, yeah, there are other people here too.) I watched with chemical- and aural-induced delight as Buzz repeatedly unleashed his mad genius directly into the face of my seventeen-year-young guest Jessyca; this being her first Melvins show. The pulsating, spurting “Pig House,” also from the new album, almost had me on my knees. My favorite song from both the new release and this show was by far “Electric Flower.” It sounds so big, so important, but like most Melvins songs, it probably means nothing…but I get it: “They have it / We want it / Let’s get it /Don’t look down! / You might regret it.”

And then…what the fuck? The band played a truly inspired grunge-metal version of “Happy Birthday” Seriously. It was confusingly cool and then the boys said goodnight with “Lovely Butterfly.”