Melvins / Totimoshi Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver BC July 5

Melvins / Totimoshi Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver BC July 5
After nearly three decades of churning out Black Flag-inspired hardcore punk riffs that collide brutally with downtempo sludge metal rhythms, Pacific Northwest icons the Melvins played to a sold-out crowd at Vancouver's Rickshaw Theatre. Aside from the group's seasoned veterans - drummer Dale Crover and the man responsible for giving a young Kurt Cobain his first punk rock mixtape, one Mr. Buzz Osborne - the band featured second drummer Coady Willis and Jared Warren on bass, making for a more than solid foursome.

But L.A. band Totimoshi were left to kick off the evening. They were in fine form as the trio wailed through a riff-heavy rock set that also had some Middle Eastern, goth and spaghetti western sounds woven into it for good measure. All in all, the group set up the Melvins nicely.

As the duelling banjo theme from Deliverance piped loudly through the PA, the house lights went down, joints were promptly baptized then set a blaze, and the Melvins took the stage. Opening the ambitious performance was a tense and slow-building cover of a Flipper tune called "Sacrifice." After that the band proceeded to plow through several earth-crushingly heavy selections from some of their newer albums, but ended up reaching far back into their lengthy back catalogue to play "Anaconda" from their 1990 album Bullhead.

Playing through a stage setup that would make J. Mascis think twice about not bringing earplugs, the Melvins brought two separate sets, with each clocking in at around 40 minutes. After a short break, they rolled into the second instalment with an offering from their latest release, The Bride Screamed Murder, an intricately arranged and vocal-heavy jam titled "The Water Glass." For the remainder of the set, most of the band's focus was on the relentless back-and-forth pounding of drummers Crover and Willis, as the show ended on an aggressive note with a cover of the Karp rager "Bacon Industry."

At the end of the night, the Melvins gave an impressive performance for any hard rock band, let alone one that features members who may be only a decade or two shy of a senior's discount at Denny's.