Photos By Ben Wilson
The Scene: When I heard Primus was coming through Denver with their 3D tour, it sounded like a sure bet to have way too much fun, and I was right. I obviously wasn’t the only one with that thought as the line to get into the sold-out Fillmore stretched up Clarkson and around onto 16th towards Emerson…some folks call that “around the block.” Once through the door, there were large cardboard boxes filled with hip looking 3D glasses for the taking and a shit-load of people ready for action.
Primus has hit a lot of ears over the past 20 some odd years, and all types of folks came to see their favorite band in 3D sight and 4D sound. The crowd instantly reacted to the first couple notes of each song, and it was clear just how deep this band’s fan base goes.
When I first heard Primus in 1995, I was a senior in High School who listened to The Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett, and the dark and freaked out sounds, well, freaked me out. Now I am much older, and although I still listen to The Dead and Buffett, nothing freaks me out when it comes to music because I have grown into a proud and well well developed music freak.
Primus: Opening the first set with “American Life,” the massive LED screen projected images of Bald Eagles, American flags, and other patriotic imagery. I stared wide eyed at the screen, thought of the coming election and what American life truly is. The visual display was out of control and, with my 3D glasses on, I watched bubbles float over the heads of the crowd on the Fillmore floor while Les Claypool’s bass hit me like a tidal wave during “Dirty Drowing Man.” Claypool is a dirty monster on the Bass, whether its strapped on his shoulder, or standing up right, he works a Bass with aggressive detail, plucking and stroking strings to create heavy, intricate pieces. Primus is rock, they’re metal, they’re dark, and they’re funky. Primus is intense. “Primus Sucks.”
The crowd all seemed to be on the same psychic/psychedelic wavelength, grinning hard and nodding they’re heads even harder. Primus may not be the most danceable music but the bass lines give you plenty of opportunities to move something. “Glass Sandwich” and the somber “Bob” stood out in a first set that represented all phases of Primus’ long history. Wrapping up round one with the timeless and overpowering “Jerry was a Race Car Driver” the sound wrapped around the audience and swirled like a helicopter blade thanks to the 4D-Quadraphonic sound this tour featured. It was downright mind numbing. Once the house lights went on, the crowd scattered to the bathroom, bar, or smoking pit, but all the conversations revolved around the multi-dimensional sights and sounds.
The second set roared off with “Eternal Consumption Engine,” and the Gregorian Satanist chant scarred me a bit, but delightfully so. That’s what Primus is about. Pushing the limits and breaking the constraints of normalcy in the song structure, lyrics and presentation-while simultaneously breaking down your mind if you in the right frame of it. We went “Over The Falls” and found “Harold on the Rocks” while pulse raising imagery matching the content of the songs accompanied on the huge screen. The stage was dark except for the screen and the gargantuan astronauts that guarded it. It was evident that the lighting tech was actually jamming along with the band at certain points during the show, which was just awesome. After an encore of “HOINFODAMAN” and “Tommy The Cat,” the stunned crowd wandered onto Colfax wondering what the hell to do after a mind-fuck like a 3D Primus show in Quadraphonic sound. I went to 2 Up.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: A+