Melvins Scala, London, 11/12/2006

Mon 18th December 2006

Support from Big Business, Flipper, Porn


Delayed by the vicissitudes of London transport and the necessity of having to accompany a sibling to the railway station, I turned up slightly late at the Scala to find it rammed to the gills and vibrating gently under the loving attention of Porn. On the stage were Father Christmas, a rotund Elvis, and a man in a jacket, tie and shorts. They were loud, slow and silly, asking how much time they had left to fill, before launching into another series of huge crashes.

Next up were Flipper. Apparently, they used to be massive or something - I gathered this from the number of people nearing middle age who fought their way to the front and proclaimed loudly how excited they were to see Flipper for the first time in 13 years. From my point of view, ignorant and oblivious, the band seemed decent enough - a bunch of old(ish) guys playing a bunch of unoffensive songs. I was slightly distracted by the fact that Krist Novoselic was playing bass - I've never grown out of Nirvana, you see. In any case, it was good to see him playing, and I did nod my head in time to the hypnotic riffs, just like pretty much everyone else.

Then it was time to assume the position. Front and centre, cushioned from the barrier by 2 short girlies who prevented me getting bruised but were short enough not to impede my view. Result. Big Business emerged from the dressing room, Jared Warren clad in Melvins-style dress-type thingy, with big Buzzo hair and a beard, Coady Willis looking like a 12-year-old bunking off school, and the 2 of them proceeded to pound away at their kit for 20 minutes, treating us to a barrage of riffs and rhythms. King Buzzo and Dale Crover mooched onto the stage at an appropriate juncture, and the silliness that is the current Melvins line-up launched into an all-out, non-stop assault on ears and stomachs. They covered most of the material on the latest album, '(a) Senile Animal', albeit at a slightly increased pace and with added drum stuff, but where the 2 drummer situation really shone was with older material - songs from 'Houdini' and 'Stag' made an appearance, and 'The Bit' in particular was heaven on 8 legs; loud as hell, cocky and absolutely impossible not to nod your head to. For once, Buzzo took a back seat to his 2 drummers, standing to one side so that we could gape in awe at the flailing, gurning Willis and the (relatively) more restrained Crover matching each other beat for beat, fill for fill. It occurred to me that there may have been people in the audience for whom Coady Willis was an unknown quantity, and I hope they went home impressed by this young upstart. For me, seeing 2 of my favourite drummers playing on the same stage at the same time was most definitely the highlight of my year.

Staggering out of the venue, I found the people I'd been meant to meet before the gig. We exchanged notes, grinned a lot, and went our separate ways. Then I set off home, only to find that everyone was asleep in bed and therefore no fun whatsoever.


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