Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Photos: Primus brings 3D visual parade to McFarlin Auditorium
For once at a Primus show, not a single person was moshing.
Now that 3D has moved from the multiplex into the living room, it was only a matter of time before stereoscopics came to rock ‘n’ roll.
And it was only fitting that the prime force behind it would be Primus. The San Fran trio behind Sailing the Seas of Cheese and the South Park theme brought its psychedelic 3D concert tour on Monday night to McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
The location was heavy with kismet. It was on this same stage 40 years ago this fall that Dark Side of the Moon was staged by Pink Floyd, a band that pioneered trippy visuals, not to mention the echoey bass guitar gallop favored by Primus leader Les Claypool.
Instead of a floating pig, Primus unleashed a surreal parade of lobsters, squirrels, and beavers to wander off the screen and into the crowd. Globs of molten lava shot like slow-moving bullets toward fans’ black-plastic 3D glasses in "Moron TV," while a freaky visage of Abe Lincoln danced across retinas in "American Life," the show’s longest and boldest jam. For once at a Primus show, not a single person was moshing.
“We’ve blown minds!” a gleeful Claypool declared midway through the second set. “There are bits and pieces of gray matter scattered around.”
Metaphorically, yes -- at least on the main floor. The main problem with the 3D is it failed to work nearly as well in the balconies. It also required a darkened stage, which rendered Primus all but invisible and meant nobody could witness Claypool doing his odd spin dances.
Hopscotching between such oldies as “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” and tunes from Green Naugahyde, its first disc in 12 years, Primus reminded you a little extreme weirdness goes a long way. Claypool’s herky-jerky mumble of a voice was amusing for a few songs and just plain grating after that.
Yet it was impossible not to admire Primus’ top-notch musicianship and its total disregard for convention. Improvising madly and stirring together genres like kids mixing finger paints, Claypool, drummer Jay Lane and guitarist Larry LaLonde painted a dark collage of funk, metal, and avant-garde jazz.
Like 3D itself, Primus isn’t best for everyday use. But it’s certainly fun to slip on the glasses every now and then.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas freelance writer.
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