Primus are a three piece that you can always expect, well, the unexpected. With a number of albums under their belt over the past three decades, the acclaimed supergroup brought the heat to Bethlehem’s Wind Creek Event Center.
by guest writer Christopher Snyder
On Wednesday evening, the Wind Creek Event Center hosted one of the greatest rock ‘n roll trios to grace the stage, Primus. The supergroup have been performing since the mid-’80s, and bring incalculable energy to their performances every evening.
Bringing the “heat” early on with their experimental/math-rock sound was New York City, Battles. The duo, consisting of Ian Williams (guitar/keyboards) and John Stanier (Drums). The forty five minute non-stop dance party had the audience captivated by the sounds. You may have recognized the guy behind the kit as he was also an original member of the alternative metal group, Helmet. The amount of power and energy that came from two human beings onstage was absolutely flooring. If you were not familiar with Battles before you walked through the doors of the Bethlehem venue you were now.
As the the three members of Primus graced the stage for their weekday show, the enthusiasm grew with chants of “Primus Sucks!”
To a new fan (or your first Primus live experience) you may have been confused, but this has been the way that fans greet the band for many years. Diving deep into their catalog on the opening number “The Heckler”, from their 1989 album “Suck On This”, was an absolute perfect way to begin the evening. Les Claypool, arguably one of the best improvisational bassists to hit the stage over the decades greeted the audience early on exclaiming:
“We are going to play some RUSH tunes but until then we’re going to subject you to a shitload of Primus.”
They absolutely did just that. Three brilliant minds together: (Les) Claypool on bass, Larry LaLonde (“Ler”) on guitar and Tim Alexander (“Herb”) laying it down on the kit. How do you decide on tunes to play every night when you have over three decades of material? Leave it to the one and only Les Claypool to be able to arrange a setlist for die-hard Primus faithful and newer fans. “Golden Boy” (Brown Album, 1997) with its driving bass and gritty guitar, throws in some funky beats as well, highlighting the first set of music.
If anyone can pay tribute to legends such as Neal Peart and Geddy Lee from Rush, it is Primus.
On their current tour, they are playing the entirety of Rush’s 1977, 37+ min progressive rock album, A Farewell To Kings. Primus have been familiar with the Rush catalog for many years, when they had the opportunity to tour with the band in the early ’90s. A little history about A Farewell To Kings: It was recorded in Wales, and it was the first album that Rush recorded outside of Toronto. It only took about three weeks to record and two weeks to mix.
To perfect an album in a little over a month’s time is a feat in itself, but to replicate it with such precision like the precision Primus did last week is absolute genius. From the opening chirping of the birds in the title track (“A Farewell To Kings”), to the singalong “Closer To The Heart,” to the closer “Cygnus X-1,” there are two words to describe the performance: Pure perfection.
Fans were also treated to some of Primus’ most well-known arrangements, as “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver ”, “My Name Is Mud” and the encore closer “Jerry Was A Racecar Driver.”
Overall, the band brought their “A game” to Bethlehem on Wednesday, and showed why they have been a force in the scene for over thirty years.
For over three decades, Christopher Snyder has been attending live music. For almost a decade he has been writing about his experiences as well interviewing musicians in every genre.
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