Primus is a treat that Les Claypool pull's out of his bag's of tricks, or should I say masks, every once in a while, making it a great treat to see these musicians in their original form. Showing how and why they made it big, not just in the Jam Scene, but the Heavy Metal, Punk Rockers and everyone else in between. Primus brought their widely accepted sound to the Congress in Chicago, but not only did they bring their sound, they brought the their whole "Oddity Faire" with them. The Faire included Portugal the Man, Split Lip Rayfield and the Womens Arm Wrestling League of Chicago was there to show off the finest and strongest arm wrestlers. It was time again for the "Oddity Faire" and it was about to get weird.
Primus came onstage to a crowd screaming "PRIMUS SUCKS", which in the ears of Les Claypool is an open welcome and actually great appreciation coming from these fans with this mantra. With giant blow-up Astronauts as a backdrop to their stage and a trippy montage of scenes from various movies being played on the visors of these spacemen really set the mood for Primus and the madness that it is. To open up the night, they started with one of the original's from the begging of the groups existence in 1984 of their debut album, "Frizzle Fry, " To Defy the Laws of Tradition" immediately it got the crowd going into a mosh-pit, obviously excited by the song selection. Seeing Les Claypool "defy the laws" of tradition on the bass is bedazzling to watch the amount of skill. Les definitely has his own style of playing the bass; slapping, strumming, playing his bass with a drumstick, violin bow and list goes on, there is endless possibilities to what he can do. "Sgt. Baker" was one of the next selections of songs and you can really feel the true musicianship of the guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde during this song especially and during the rest of the concert uses many advanced guitar techniques in his riffs with sweep picking, tapping, Chicken Picking, Pick Tapping and others that I don't even have names for, he is truly a musician holding is own on stage and also an attributing sound to Primus. Other great songs that filled the first set were; "Southbound of Pachyderm", "Over The Falls" and "Fisticuffs". Really adding to the feel of the Oddity Faire was the song Coattails of a Dead Man, with its freakish circus sound with Les Claypool as the announcer of this freak-show, right into another speech/chant like sound "Sathington Willoughby". Now Les Claypool had everyone in the palm of his hands at this point of the show, everyone was loving the set-list and everyone was obviously seeing a show above expectations, this is where Les might have decided to turn it up a bit, going into a huge, "Drum and Whamola Jam", a song that really shows how Jay Lane handles the drums. Its amazing to see and hear his style of playing, pushing the drum solo to and upwards of 7 minutes at which point Les comes on to the stage with his traditional monkey mask, not only looking like a monkey, but acting like one too he accompanied Jay in the solo, dueling back and forth, drums vs. Whamola showing the connectivity of these creative duo! If you have never seen a Whamola before, it is a direct decedent of the bathtub bass, basically a single base string played with a drumstick and to alter what notes are played you either fret up or alter the tension on the string, which Les does by utilizing a lever that tightens and loosening the string he can make beat like bass sounds, quite awesome to watch! Following the solo they go into "Eleven" and then into quite possibly their most popular song and well known song, "My Name is Mud" which got the crowd going into a frenzy pushing the mosh pit in the center of theater to overload mode along with people body surfing around, it was quite a site to see watching from the balcony of theater. Bringing a end to the second set he brought a set of songs a bit more on the Jammy, funkier side of things, starting off with "Over the Electric Grapevine" into "Golden Boy" and "Tommy the Cat". Primus stepped off the stage for a minute, enough to hear the crowd roar endlessly, breaking into the, "Primus Sucks!" chant, he was sucked back in by the admiration and stepped back on stage to please the audience with an encore, ending the concert with the trends three songs previous songs, breaking into, "Harold of the Rocks" which only left the audience wanting more, from an already incredible show.
Primus is something everyone should experience, at least once, although the music is not attractive to everyone of course, but if not the music, everything else that is the experience of Primus. The amazing musical solo's, the backdrop of the stage (in this case two huge astronauts) and the theatrics of the whole show and of course the crazy antics of Les Claypool.