Tuesday night marked the return of West Coast punk legends Melvins, who brought their 2019 Escape From L.A. tour to the First Avenue stage.
Opening the night was former Big Business guitarist and regular Melvins contributor Toshi Kasai and the founders of glam punk, rockers Redd Kross. The linup highlighted three West Coast punk bands at their finest.
First up was Toshi Kasai. Taking to the stage alone with a unique backdrop of green light on a white screen, Toshi performed a 20-minute set of computer-generated musical reverb as the light pulsated and danced to the sounds.
Toshi seemed to have an Andy Kaufman effect on the crowd, as some seemed not to understand what they were witnessing. I could not help but think that I was watching a misunderstood genius baffle an audience who could not comprehend the art which was in front of them. It was like witnessing someone viewing a Van Gogh asking, “What’s with all the dots.” The spectators seemed to have come for guitars and were delivered an impromptu art show.
At 8:45 the famous First Avenue video screen ascended and the glam punk-disco killers Redd Kross rose to the stage in stylish fashion. Brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald pumped life into the swelling crowd with their high energy punk sound.
Drummer Dale Grover and guitarist Jason Shapiro’s delivered crashing chords and vigorous beats as Red Kross pounded through a setlist which included the likes of “Switchblade Sister,” the pop-punk “Peach Kelli Pop,” “Annie’s Gone” and, one of my favorites, “It Won’t Be Long.”
At 10:00 pm Buzz Osbourne, Dale Crover, and Steve Mcdonald hit the stage with vigor as the current line up that is Melvins. Buzz, with his hard-hitting voice that matches his crunch-style rhythms, responded well to Dale’s concussion-like drums and Steve’s performance-style bass.
Blasting through a set which included “Sesame Streat Meat,” “Anaconda” and “Honey Bucket,” Melvins justified their star on the First Avenue building.
It has been over 25 years since the last time I saw them in the same venue, and I felt the same way I did back then. With over 26 albums and recordings, Melvins continue to grow as artists, as their fan base continues to grow in age diversity. Like Kiss and Iron Maiden, the loyal fans and cult-like following give Melvins legendary status and continue to create younger fans to appreciate their music. To witness Melvins is to observe legends in groundbreaking music that has influenced countless artists today.