PRIMUS – Oslo – Sentrum Scene
If I am to listen to Primus’ albums, I can never make up my mind what exactly it is that makes their tunes such an interesting mix for the ears, yet rather difficult to digest. And I gave up trying to figure it out, but having had the chance to watch them perform live brought some new perspectives in the picture and it all made sense. It made sense after watching a trio who can write such unearthly music, perform it live with an attitude that they’re simply rehearsing some common riffs to warm up and who can make improvisation seem like an easy task even for a deaf person. It became obvious that they are as unique on stage as they are on albums and that’s probably their main element. I’m not sure if they can be compared to anything, nor if anyone manages to get close to them, so if you have examples for me, please share!
No support acts for the show in Oslo on a lazy Sunday evening. The concert at Sentrum scene was fully sold out and I don’t think anyone missed the first beat. The venue was packed from the very beginning. At first, such a wide stage feels too big for the trio, as they don’t have the habit of jumping around or changing positions, except going back and forth every now and then. But then you realize that the width of the stage is going very well with the theater size backdrop used for creating a visual story during each of the songs. Another element that added so much to the awesomeness of the show. You are being bombarded with a lot of moving images – cartoons, drawings, moving pictures mainly using old fashioned filming style – all these messed with your brains and imagination and led to a lot of guessing games. Besides trying to figure out the meaning in relation to each song, I kept wondering how they were made and how long it took to arrange them like that. It all surely represented some hundreds of hours of work and it compensated very well for the lack of light show or any kind. Actually, I am glad they picked to not have a lightshow, so you could actually focus on the projections. And on the horse head, impaled on a tall stick next to the drum kit. Again, if anyone happens to know what the story behind the horse head it, make sure you share it with me. Thank you. Speaking of heads, I have to mention that for the song "Mr. Krinkle", Les Claypool came on stage with a pig mask, similar to the one used in the video that accompanied the whole song. And he played a rather tall lute.
I had a look at the playlists from other concerts to try to figure out how long the evening might last. Then I realzied that they seem to constantly change the playist, or at least re-arrange the songs order. Another aspect that increased my admiration level, in a world where a lot of times everything seems rehearsed to perfection and performed strictly ‘one way only’, leaving no place for human side of being a live musician. Well, Primus reaches perfection while disregarding order at least. The drumming tempo makes you wonder at times if they hired a robot that resembles Tim "Herb" Alexander. And it’s not the speed of it but the constant beat at the perfect time. Does he eat metronomes for breakfast?
Between Les Claypool’s bass magic and guitarist Larry LaLonde’s melodies, the time flew and it seems like only 10 minutes into the show the band left the stage before the encore. It had been about an hour though, a really fascinating hour, with music from the very beginnings until the recent Chocolate Factory release. We even got a new song which got introduced as inspired by the Trollhunter movie and some words of praise towards the Norwegian beauty. Imagine the crow’d excitement at that speech.
For the musical break, the band picked animated videos with Popeye the Sailor man to be displayed on the big screen. Which was fun and different. Enteraining even. For two episodes. When the third one started, I found my way out to take care of attention demanding bladder. But since it seemed that nothing happened on stage even after this 3rd episode, I thought it’s actually not nice to have to spend time watching cartoons when what people paid for is actually a live performance. So I picked up my equipment and went home, only to find out that the band returned and performed for one more hour. My loss. Next time I’ll know better to have more patients and find a better way to ignore the loud speaking drunkards who think everyone needs to hear their constant chatter in a rather silent concert venue.