Primus Sucks: Primus and The Dead Kenny G’s at The Fillmore Miami Beach – Review

6-4-11     Photos

A strange collection of people descended upon the Fillmore Miami Beach Saturday night. Metalheads in Lamb of God shirts and others in Grateful Dead tie-dyes slammed drinks by their cars in the parking lots before heading inside to catch the opening act, the Dead Kenny G’s.

While the people gathered were a diverse bunch, there was still some common thread running through them. You could pick out someone on the beach for Primus that night regardless of what they wore. Maybe it was the drinks in their hands. Maybe it was a faint, off-kilter look in their eyes.

Primus

While folks were still arriving in droves, the Dead Kenny G’s kicked things off at 8 p.m. The experimental trio, headed by saxophonist Skerik and drummer/vibraphonist Mike Dillon, set up in front of two massive, inflatable astronauts. The band let loose a set drenched in frantic, effected saxophone lines and the ethereal chimes of the vibraphone. The offbeat instrumental jams were just strange enough to set the stage for the madness to come.

After the Dead Kenny G’s wrapped it up, the tension really began to build. What was before only an undertone of excitement was heating up to a tangible commotion as the time for the main act drew closer.

“Woo, Primus! They SUCK!” a guy shouted as he stumbled up the ramp leading into the main hall. These patrons weren’t playing. They were getting as twisted as the music they came to see.

The main hall was dense with bodies just before Primus took the stage. Demented, Elfman-esque orchestral music boomed out of the PA speakers. When the music stopped, the crowd burst into deafening peals of applause as Primus emerged. It was at that moment that the night crossed over from strange to surreal.

The inflatable astronauts came to life with bizarre images of dogs in suits climbing escalators and elephants jumping on trampolines projected upon their helmets. The crowd seemed completely to go up in pot smoke. And that strange feeling creeping up all night manifested itself in the form of that outlandish music.

Primus is one of those bands that somehow manages to sound like their name. There is something savage about their music. Something aggressively primitive. If a few silverback gorillas formed a rock band, it would probably sound like Primus. The very thought crossed my mind a moment before Claypool donned an ape mask during a song.

Les Claypool

The tumultuous vibes gripped the crush of people before the stage, driving them to crowd surf and violently fling themselves across mosh pits.

Things got real early on for one kid. He leaned on a railing with his head down, his long, straight hair veiling his face. But when one of the EMT’s lifted his chin to check his face, it was clear he was bleeding all over his clothes and onto the floor. Moments later, he fainted and was hauled out by the medics. All the while Claypool’s bass thumped and popped behind a blanket of distorted guitar and maddening drums.

Primus played their old tunes like “Jerry Was A Racecar Driver,” as well as introducing a handful of brand new tunes. They played with loops and noises, cranking out something that sounded like Pink Floyd’s “On The Run,” but on more amphetamines.

At one point, things got a little heavy up front in the pit and a beer went flying onto the stage. It landed on Claypool’s bass guitar and fried it.

Primus

“Oh, I guess you don’t want to hear that song,” said Claypool as he was handed his hollow body bass guitar. There was a loud “boo” directed toward whomever fried Claypool’s instrument. Primus continued, but skipped that particular song and saved it for the end.

When the set did end and Primus left the stage, nobody moved. They just stood there yelling and cheering for that encore. A chant emerged from the din.

“Primus sucks! Primus sucks! Primus sucks!” The chant gained steam, growing louder and louder, until Claypool and friends returned to the stage for a couple more twisted tunes.

Les Claypool

The encore jam closed the concert on a hard note at about 11 p.m. or so, and when the band gave their bows and the lights in the concert hall came up, the sea of crazies packed into the concert hall made for the exits and spilled onto the streets of Miami Beach. Outside the venue, a man stood amid a gathering crowd giving out free Primus posters featuring a fat lady drinking a beer and riding a dead dolphin-perfectly normal by Primus standards.

Outside, you could tell who just came from the Primus concert. Sure, it was easy cause they were covered in sweat and grime, but there was definitely a subtle off-kilter look in their eyes. I think everyone there that night was a little screwy. You have to have a screw a little loose somewhere up there to like Primus. ‘Cause you know, Primus sucks.

-Chris Lazaga

All photos by Kathleen Griffith. See more of her work at Corvus Eye.

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Festie News: Moogfest and Gathering of the Vibes Lineups!

June 1 saw many big concert announcements. The Langerado Music Festival initial lineup was announced, the Bear Creek lineup additions were announced, and now I find Asheville, North Carolina’s Moogfest initial lineup was released as well.

STS9

Moogfest, held in honor of Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer, is a largely electronic-oriented festival, but it also features a handful of live crossover bands as well.

This year’s Moogfest, to be held from October 28-30, will feature a slew of fantastic acts including STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Ghostland Observatory, The Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, Tangerine Dream and Crystal Castles.

For the full Moogfest lineup, click here.

Also now available are lineups for a pop/ garbage rock saturated Summerfest (though there are a few diamonds sprinkled among the coals) and a truly amazing-looking Gathering of the Vibes.

Vibes this year is featuring, among others, Furthur, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, John Butler Trio, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Dumpstaphunk.

For the full Gathering of the Vibes lineup, click here.

Check back for festival updates!

-Chris Lazaga

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Chris’s Picks: June 2011

Alright, so there’s a little more music happening than I may have let on in my article “May, Check. June, Check… Sort Of. July…?” but to be honest, most of it is fluff. The stuff that isn’t marketed garbage (like Winsin Y Yandel and everything reggaeton) is mostly local, with plenty of opportunities to see and hear in the future.

The highlight show of the month is, without a doubt, Primus at The Fillmore Miami Beach.  Primus is simply so strange and so colorful that they’re a must-see. Especially if you’re a bass player (but if you are a bass player, you already know all about Les Claypool). This is also a show where you DO NOT want to miss the opener, The Dead Kenny G’s. They’re a trio led by mad scientist of the saxophone, Skerik.

In other words, if you only get to go out once this month, go out and see Primus.

Other than that, try to catch Black Uhuru at Grand Central on the 15. It’s relatively inexpensive and they rarely come around, so it’s more than worth it.

Borgore

Want to hit a great rave party? Trust me and go to Borgore at the Fillmore on the 17. The Honeymoon Series has been racking up the numbers since opening with Datsik and continuing with Zeds Dead last month, and it looks like it’s going to keep on trending.

The rest of the month’s good music rests on the shoulders of Miami’s very-capable local musicians. Bands like Cojunto Progreso (6/10 – The Stage, 6/18 – Transit Lounge),Artofficial (6/17 – Transit Lounge, 6/24 – The Stage) andAlbert Castiglia (6/18 – Titanic Restaurant and Brewery) never disappoint.

While seeing Def Leppard and Heart could possibly be fun (if only to drink heavily and sing along to some random songs I’ve picked up from classic rock radio over the years), it’s way too pricey for me to consider it worth the ticket and the drive.

Otherwise, it’s up to you. Personally, I can’t stand pop music, so I went ahead and crossed off Winsin y Yandel, Katy Perry, U2 and Marcos Witt right off my calendar.

Stay tuned for updates, advances and reviews. Enjoy the month of June and please party responsibly.

-Chris Lazaga

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Something Phishy in Florida: Trey Anastasio Band Added to Bear Creek and Langerado

Trey Anastasio

Earlier today, it was announced that the Trey Anastasio Band was added to top the already stellar lineup for Bear Creek 2011. Also added to the Bear Creek lineup were George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners, Russell Batiste Band, Honey Island Swamp Band and Corporal Boil.

Also added to the bill are artists-at-large Will Bernard, Freekbass, Johnny Vidocovich, Roosevelt Collier, Topaz, Scott Messersmith, Jaime McLean, Nikki Glaspie, Michelle Sarah. For the full Bear Creek 2011, click here.

In addition to being added to Bear Creek, Trey Anastasio Band is also headlining the return of Langerado Music Festival in October. The initial lineup for Langerado was also announced earlier today and includes Death Cab for Cutie, Thievery Corporation, Ben Harper, Ween, G. Love and Special Sauce, Ghostland Observatory and Conspirator. For the complete initial lineup for Langerado 2011, click here.

The fall music schedule for Florida just got serious. Get those tickets while they’re hot!

-Chris Lazaga

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Dead Webcast: Furthur Experiments To Be Broadcast from Bob Weir’s TRI

In June, Furthur will perform… everywhere.

On June 7 at 6 p.m. Pacific, Furthur will broadcast a concert direct from Bob Weir’s brand new state-of-the-art recording studio, the Tamalpais Research Institute (TRI).

Bob Weir

“A lot of guys, when they have a little success in life, go out and buy a yacht or a fancy car,” said Weir, “What I did was I went out and built a flying saucer.”

Weir’s “flying saucer” is an 11,500 square-foot live HD webcasting venue. The studio boasts state-of-the-art equipment, including a Meyer Sound Constellation System that allows engineers to emulate how a band would sound in a small room, a massive arena and everything in between.

Weir’s current project, Furthur, broadcasted a test earlier this month and plan to follow it up with a full concert, mixed and streamed live online at TRI’s website for $19.95.

To check out Bob Weir and friends testing the system with “West L.A. Fadeaway,” click here.

-Chris Lazaga

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May, Check. June, Check… Sort Of. July…?

Maybe it’s because I overworked myself in April. Maybe it’s because there’s so much going on in August. But it seems to me the live music schedule for the summer is… rather barren.

Les Claypool of Primus

June only brings us Primus and the Dead Kenny G’s at the Fillmore Miami Beach (6/4) and Black Uhuru at Grand Central (6/15).

August is a monster month for music with Hot Tuna at Revolution Live (8/5), Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto (8/6) at Revolution Live (some might disagree with me about this show, but I’ll call it my guilty pleasure of the nostalgic variety), two nights of Perpetual Groove at the Culture Room (8/12, 8/13), Slightly Stoopid at Sunset Cove in Boca Raton (8/20) and the IDentity Festival featuring Disco Biscuits, Pretty Lights, Crystal Method, Datsik, Rusko and more at Bayfront Park (8/25).

But what about July?

So far, all that’s gone off on my radar have been local groups playing local shows. Now, that’s nothing to belittle—those local happenings are important and deserve some love, but still.

Oh dear God, please make Britney Spears go away!

Could it be that all we can expect from July 2011 besides the RX Bandits are Britney Spears and Sade?

I sincerely hope something more crops up soon. I would hate to resort to covering garbage concerts just to make a buck in July.

Oh well, perhaps it’s for the best. Maybe I’ll wind up covering Electric Forest and Camp Bisco after all…

-Chris Lazaga

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Saltwater Grass in Miami Beach and Delray This Weekend

I know I haven’t posted in two days, but I was getting things together for the first Titanic Tuesday Jam Session (which surpassed all expectations). I’m looking forward to seeing everyone out there for another go-around next week!

In other news, my temporary shift in focus made me miss a really cool show going on tonight in just a few hours.

Saltwater Grass

Jacksonville’s Saltwater Grass will be performing at The Florida Room in the Delano Hotel tonight on Miami Beach.

A veteran Bear Creek Music Festival, Saltwater Grass is a blues/rock/reggae jam amalgam that sounds only how it wants to sound.

If this is a little too last minute for you, there’s another chance to catch them before they disappear into the north again.

Tomorrow night, Saltwater Grass is playing a free show at the Hurricane in Delray Beach. What’s more is before they perform, there’s a free BBQ for those who attend! It’s all part of Brotherly Love Productions’ “Rockout with your Cookout,” series for the month of May.

Enjoy the long weekend!

-Chris Lazaga

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Sitting In: Titanic Brewery Holds Its First Tuesday Night Jam Session Tomorrow Night (5/24)!

Tomorrow night, Titanic Brewery (5813 Ponce de Leon) will hold its very first Tuesday night Jam Session at 10 p.m.

And I’m the host!

Titanic Restaurant & Brewery

The idea of the Titanic Jam Session is to give players in the community a place to mingle and feel each other out musically. Titanic is already known for hosting music four nights out of the week and UM with their Frost School of Music is right next door.

Since it will be the first one, I’m going to let it fly a little. See where it wants to go. There will be a house trio consisting of Alejandro Elizondo  on the keys, Ricardo Mere on the drumkit and myself on bass, but musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments of choice to sit in with us and rotate on the instruments.

Tunes will be allowed provided that all the players are comfortable and willing to play them, but a large part of the Jam Session will revolve around free jamming—improvised music around a loose set of chords of musical ideas.

So the players we’re trying to attract are those that are comfortable playing with strangers and making up music on the fly.

Dizzy Bird at Titanic Restaurant & Brewery

There are already a handful of great musicians expected to make appearances. Flavio Rocha with his guitar, for one. Kevin Tomas of Hoosha for another. And Orlando Vega, my friend and frontman of our old group, Dizzy Bird, will be dropping by as well.

The beautiful part about the Titanic Jam Session, at least how I imagine it, is that anything goes. So long as the players are game (and the music doesn’t suck), anything goes.

If the jams aren’t enough to get players out, Titanic also offers a special Tuesday night burger menu featuring any burger with a side of fries for $6.

So players, be sure pick up your instrument and drop by Titanic tomorrow night for the first Titanic Jam Session. It’s like a musical Pandora’s Box.

Nobody knows what we’ll find when we open it.

-Chris Lazaga

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Right By The Beach: Bushwood’s Debut Album Drops

Bushwood

Bushwood is a name that’s been on South Florida’s tongue for quite some time. Now, it’s as loud as ever. After a seven-month hiatus, Bushwood is back in high gear with a brand new studio album. The self-titled work features ten wonderfully produced original tunes that draw from the undeniable beach-party vibe Miami is known for worldwide.

Bassist Adam Moskowitz thought it was high time for the Bushwood album.

“We decided it was time to give our fans something tangible. Something they could throw on and let it bump and sing and jam along with all summer,” said Moskowitz.

"Bushwood" cover art

Objectively speaking, the album is of a similar vein to Sublime or Slightly Stoopid, though it sits on another end of the reggae/rock spectrum with it’s funkier feels on tunes like “Flomanja,” or more radio-friendly sound on tunes like “Drop The Anchor.”

Yet there’s still something else that sets it apart from other reggae/rock trios (of which there are many). Listening to the album a few times over, I’m still not sure what that thing is. The closest I can get is how it feels so much like… home, I guess. It brings me back to high school when all there was to life were friends and parties.

What I was reminded of listening to "Bushwood"

The album as a whole goes down like smooth rum served out of a hollowed out melon beneath the shade of a surf side tiki hut (see picture to the right).

Most importantly, “Bushwood” serves the group as a strong anchor point for the band to build upon. Perhaps it’s too early to think too far into the future, but I am already wondering what the trio has in store for us in times to come.

On a selfish note, it’s kind of nice that Bushwood isn’t taking off across the states to promote their new album, so we have plenty of opportunities to catch them live in the motherland of sun, surf and sultry women.

The album was released two days ago (5/20) when the band played a 3 set show at the Bierbrunnen Beer Garden in Ft. Lauderdale. You can get Bushwood’s self-titled debut album for $7 – $9 online, but you can pick up a CD from the band with artwork for $5 at any of their upcoming shows (see Bushwood’s official website for a schedule of dates).

As has always been my personal philosophy, music is best served live. And Bushwood is best known for being a live band. That said, get yourself over to a show and dig your toes into the sands of their sound.

-Chris Lazaga

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Feminine Gossip: Girl Talk Rocks A Packed House at The Fillmore Miami Beach – Review

5-19-11     Photos

The night started with a BANG—well, it was more of a thud—as a car hit a passing motorcyclist on the corner of 17th and Washington. It was only about 8:45 p.m. A small crowd gathered at the corner of the sidewalk gawking at the emergency vehicles swarming the scene, but most moved on when the cops started barking and the motorcyclist started moving around on the ground. He is lucky to be alive.

Max Tundra

Meanwhile, folks were filing into the Fillmore to catch Max Tundra, an electronic madman from the UK. Max Tundra joined Girl Talk for a leg of his tour through Florida.

Inside, the main hall seemed to fill up in a blink when Max Tundra went on. He had an odd array of synthesizers, machines and instruments arranged on a table in front of the massive closed curtains of the Fillmore’s stage.

Using everything from beat machines to finger harps, Max Tundra got the crowd grooving before ending his set with a surprising version of “So Long, Farewell.”

Now that the masses were lubed up, it was time to really get down. Anticipation mounted as the crush grew larger and larger. When the lights dimmed and a low bass sweep looped across the hall, the Fillmore exploded in cheers and applause. When the bass sweeps gained pitch and momentum, they became words. “Girl Talk,” the bass sweeps chanted, spurring the crowd to chant along.

Girl Talk

The curtains parted to reveal a massive LED wall and Gregg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk, ran onto the stage and kicked off his set. He was barely onstage for two minutes when a crowd of VIPs stormed the stage. Stagehands wielding leaf-blowers blew toilet paper streamers over the pit.

The rest of the night blended into a confused haze of flashing lights, frenzied ragers and snippets of pop culture spliced together and strung along by the steady thump of the bass. It was the kind of bass that literally blew your hair back if you stood too close to the massive subwoofers on the sides of the stage.

Giant balloons filled with confetti bounced along the mob of people that eventually filled the massive venue from wall to wall.

Girl Talk

And the music never stopped. Girl Talk’s set was a continuous flow of popular music sampled and remixed to the point that you just weren’t sure what you were listening to anymore. All you had was a vague sense of familiarity and an irresistible rhythm pounding into your very core. You had to be stone dead not to get down at this party.

By the time Girl Talk finished his encore, the pit was a mess. We waded through ankle deep piles of confetti and toilet paper to exit the theatre. Outside, any passerby could see we just left a party of epic proportions. Pieces of confetti still sticking to sweaty bodies were a dead giveaway.

And it’s all happening again tonight. Get out there and grab a piece of the action while it’s still hot!

-Chris Lazaga

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