Melvins August 29, the Sayers Club.
Depending on their musical taste, Bonanza Gift Shop customers got either a bonus treat or an earful of ugly as they exited their cars Saturday night. The source of the sound? Melvins, playing diagonally across the intersection, with the windows wide open.
When the Sayers Club at SLS gobbled up the best Bunkhouse shows following that venue’s July closure, this one stood out as the weirdest pairing—of a band known for metallic mayhem and a room best described as chill. Spotting the small army of Melvins fans lined up before doors opened (not to mention frontman Buzz Osborne’s famous, messy ’fro as he wandered the casino’s corridors) only heightened anticipation for whatever might follow.
Seattle two-piece Big Business provided a hint of what that would be, kicking up a wicked cloud of sludge as the room began to fill and bodies spilled out onto the adjacent patio. After a short break, the two musicians—bassist/vocalist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis—returned to the stage, along with Osborne and longtime Melvins drummer Dale Crover, for the main event.
It was terrifyingly heavy and loud, yet the Sayers’ system kept that massive sound clean, making it easy to hear Osborne’s shredding guitar, both vocalists and, especially, both drummers, the stars of this latest touring Melvins version. The song sequence, a near-continuous piece with little downtime, showcased Crover and Willis on most numbers—from 2010’s “The Water Glass,” featuring a drum-backed call-and-response breakdown, to a breakneck cover of Wipers’ “Youth of America. And the two were so locked together, much of the time they sounded like one drummer, generating twice the power.
In case we weren’t sure this band in this room would go down as one of the strangest things we’d witnessed, Warren stepped into the crowd near the end of the 75-minute set and began slithering across the floor, playing his instrument all the while, during final number “A History of Bad Men.” In typical Melvins style, the band left without an encore, leaving us hungry for the next unconventional installment.
The Bunkhouse Series at the Sayers Club at SLS is sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits, Live Nation, Downtown Container Park and Greenspun Media Group.