Melvins Lite Venue, Vancouver BC July 15

Melvins Lite Venue, Vancouver BC July 15
As one would expect, Melvins Lite wasted no time showing that they were still quite heavy. After an intro of "Sweet Leaf" by Black Sabbath, Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantômas) droned repeating figures on his upright bass, soon joined by Dale Crover sparsely working his drum kit, and eventually the striking figure of Buzz Osborne, adding extended technique on guitar. Together, they crept slowly towards a plateau for five minutes or so. By the time they exploded, the mixed age and sex mosh core was already throwing bodies, basking in the sludge. The crowd kept it surging for the duration, as the Melvins picked up the pace and cycled through a brief history of metal, from its arena and hard rock roots, to the hardcore and grunge their band directly grew out of and developed.

King Buzzo looked like a wizard in his usual starry muumuu, his distinctive greying frizz-fro framing his face like a halo of life experience. Completing the illusion, he played like magic. Osborne has such a graceful, effortless style as he casts venomous incantations on his polished aluminum guitar, his booming vocals coming out half bark, half growl. He doesn't overplay or short-sell, casually inviting people in to gaze in awe at his prowess. When he plays, you watch.

Elder statesman Crover was no slouch on the drums either, hammering out complex patterns in a muggy sweatbox while proving backing vocals. Physically, Crover and Osborne looked like they're getting on in years, but they played like they were just spawned from hell. Dunn held his own on contrabass as the rich, organic timbre of the massive instrument tastefully filled in their sound. Dunn got so into their cover of Paul McCartney and Wings' "Let Me Roll It" (from their most recent album Freak Puke) that he rolled onto his back, playing the bass while holding it in the air with his feet, and ended up turtling a couple times trying to get back up. It's never just another day at the office to see the Melvins.