The Melvins are, unequivocally, without a doubt, indisputably, unavoidably, unquestionably, beyond any uncertainty, clearly, most assuredly the most boring live band playing today. Painfully, brutishly, relentlessly boring. Listening to a Steve Vai record dull. Yngwie levels of self-indulgent. More enjoyable at this point to watch someone wank for an hour than go to a show. That cabin-lover Justin Vernon raises my pulse more.
Any band that’s together for almost 30 years is bound to put out a clunker or two. That’s simple math. Especially a band with such a strong personality, such a commitment to the dadaist end of rock. And sure, they’ve put out a crappy song or two. A weak album that doesn’t connect. Simple math. That was part of the package, always has been. They’d give you “Queen” and then make you pay for it with “Lividity.” You’d get “Night Goat,” and then they’d slap you with “Spread Eagle Beagle.” Hard to really tell where the scales tipped from writing songs to sports, but the band at this point is committed to reconstructing the first 30 seconds of “Hooch” on every one of the nine thousand albums they release per year. They’ve gone from a shitty individual track or two (go with it) per album to outright punishing the people that buy tickets to see them play live. By making every song bleed into the next in one huge cacophonous mess.
First time I saw them, they were opening for Tomahawk. They were in the trio configuration and they were single-mindedly set on performing some great fucking songs. When they performed “The Bit,” everyone lost their minds. The beat was so monolithic and the riffs so enormous that the floor (above the load-out basement) was actually dipping with the simultaneous head banging. It was incredible. And after that? Small break and then the next song. The video above on the other hand? Make it past the five minute mark and you’ll be treated to seven minutes of bullshit wanking. And that’s, more or less, their entire show now. One or two lone moments of intelligible, understandable song structure that you can get into and grin over, and then a shit-ton of thhhtbppppbttthhttttptt.
Taking on the two members of Big Business just makes things even more confusing. Those guys clearly know how to write songs that don’t hold onto unnecessary counts, hooks and bits that double back on themselves for what feels like an hour. They do what the Melvins did. Here Come the Waterworks or even Quadruple Single both are goddamned solid albums featuring solid songs. And yet, you get the two bands together, and it sounds like a fucking drumline got invaded by guitars. This glorified highschool marching band bullshit needs to end.