Melvins [Endless Residency] Live Review (The Exchange, Bristol. 21/5/13 & 22/5/13)

Melvins. What can you say about them… one of thee most important bands in rock music? Yes, and that is about all you can really say. When the Melvins announced that they’d be playing their Endless Residency themed nights in Bristol, I knew that there was no way I could possibly miss them. NO WAY.

First of all, I don’t even know if this will count as a review because after both nights I was honestly speechless. My friends would ask me what I thought about each night and all I could come up with was “really good”, and even then it was WAY better than “really good”. There were/are just no words for it, especially when you consider having seen one of your favourite bands (who have a legendary status) in such a small venue – the drums had to be put face-to-face to get the little room they had for Buzz and Jared. It was incredibly intimate.

I guess the main thing that struck me was that during both nights (perhaps more so on the first) was that the crowd was a lot like the sweat that kept splattering and running down Buzz’s guitar – the crowd often synching into currents of the music (whether they were the fast and heavy or the slow and quiet moments) and sometimes the band would completely divert away from the constructions of the songs, either with extensions or random fills, and sort of leave the crowd in brief moments of a confused and abused confusion.

Also, while it was sort of safe to assume that Melvins would play the releases from beginning to end, they actually mixed the songs up when going through the albums – for example; when they played “Bullhead” on the second night, they finished that session with Boris, instead of starting with it. While it took a little bit away from the imagined experience of witnessing the albums played in full, it sort of kept you guessing what they would play next if you couldn’t see the setlist. During the “Houdini” set, the pretty much did a medley through the tracks Set Me Straight, Sky Pup and Joan Of Arc; which was really interesting and cool to see how they melded the songs together.

But that’s all there is to report about really. Melvins just played impeccably. Each night ended with a drum solo between Dale and Coady and at moments it really felt like the two had a competition for who could break their drums first – which surprisingly didn’t happen. As for highlights of both of the nights they would have to be the following tracks: Boris, If I Had An Exorcism, Sacrifice, At The Stake, June Bug, Goin’ Blind, Revolve, Lizzy, Queen, Night Goat and the drum-off on the first night during/after Spread Eagle Beagle.

It was just an absolutely gratifying experience and words will never ever do it justice. If you ever get the chance to see Melvins do their Endless Residency theme nights, just go, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

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