Friday, June 11, 2010

Show Review - Les Claypool - The Palace Theater - 6/9/10 - Greensburg - Concert Review

Former (and current) Primus front man Les Claypool performed this past Wednesday at the Palace Theater in Greensburg. Below is a guest review of the show. He will soon be supporting a revived edition of Primus later this year.

Starting off, the opening band the Hot Head Show did not impress. The vocals were near indecipherable, they constantly started / stopped, and changed pace throughout the song. I had a hard time getting in to the groove. It just didn't seem well polished.

I was jealous to see that some of the Les Claypool shows later in the summer will be opened by Gogol Bordello, which is a good reason to go to Cleveland for the Aug 3rd show with Primus. The bonus is you'll even get to see Les again as part of Primus.

The Theater was a great venue, not ideal for this sort of show, but It's an old performance theater, so every seat has a great view of the stage. The sound is a little bit echoey, but pretty well done. Surprisingly, this place has drawn several metal shows as well, including a recent show by Mastadon in April.

Les Claypool's set was mostly instrumental and had a real jam band feel. There as a little Primus thrown in for good measure. Les had some interesting instruments including an electric vibraphone, a resonator bass, and a large stick like instrument which kind of looked like a scythe that was obviously a midi synth controller. The total band was only 4 performers, but it sounded like there were more. At one point, I couldn't tell whether it was the vibraphone or the cello that was belting out notes like a sax. Another time, I was impressed by hearing the cello played in the style of surf guitar.

Throughout the show, Les stepped offstage to change in several characters using a pig and monkey mask, working with the atmosphere of the music. He even stepped off the stage completely to share the spotlight with the others.

There was a lot of great solo action from the cello, xylophone and drums, with a lot of dynamic changes throughout the set ranging from slow quiet rhythms to groovy crescendos. Everyone in the supporting band had plenty of opportunities to be featured. All in all, if you can get in to this brand of moody, funky, psychedelic music and are not concerned about poppy songs, then then this show would have had you floored.


  1. "electric vibraphone"? all vibraphones are electric. what's "a real jam band feel"? why would it impress you that a cello sounded like a surf guitar? why were you jealous that some shows will be opened by Bordello? how could anyone take this "guest review" seriously?

  2. I saw some Les Claypool performances with Primus and the stage bands he joined to play the Fancy dvd. As always, Claypool's electric bass solos are the main spot of any show of Primus, but, sure, even when he chooses to play a cello or whatever not being an electric bass surprises you.

    I saw some stupendous live bass in My Friend Fats, Southbound Pachyderm and Rumble of the Diesel, and fat grooves in Holy Mackerel. That National Steel-like 4 string bass Les plays once in a while is nothing less to his prowess of course, but I think he should think about not being so derivative, because he may end playing stuff only to try to avoid the sameness, and that would be a mistake. See, Jimi Hendrix and Franz Zappa played guitars; Claypool has been that electric bassist with the tremolo Kahler whammy bar and Rainbow 6 string bass and only with that stuff he could live for what he created, starting in the 90s til now. Come on man, go on and write substantial stuff and not shit to bore everybody!!!(I'm not writing to Les nor Primus; didn't see you of this site?).


  3. I agree with Puzzle in most things he wrote. I don't agree at all that supporters here are writing holy shit, as he wrote, but I do agree yes with his viewpoint, overall to my see, that the artist must take care not to turn morbid, lazy because of stardom or success, or try to innovate but only to go to an one-way street situation. I have seen some electric guitar players from the past that started to keep a new "tongue", playing acoustic guitar for years instead of the brilliancy of the elctric that made them famous, only to see that it was a most serious mistake; you can notice that Johnny Winter nor Billy Sheehan started playing acoustic National Steel or acoustic bass only, giving up electric guitar and electric bass; they just kept playing the instruments for what they built a name on, the legend, and keep on creating fantastic electric, traditional music.

    Puzzle, I have to agree that you're right in many ways...

    Blackbird, works the bass.

  4. Shut up Puzzle and Blackbird, let Les Claypool play what he wants.