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Go See This Fucking Band

THE MELVINS show everyone else how to play an album in its entirety

The increasingly popular trend of bands playing an album in its entirety can be an awesome way to hear their best songs, a confirmation of the band's current irrelevance or both. Ever the iconoclasts, THE MELVINS' recent performance of 1993's Houdini at Webster Hall was neither, and it set a high standard for every band that does this from now on.

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Breaking from the momentum of their last two, career-best albums with BIG BUSINESS, the Melvins celebrated the apex of their improbable major-label run by throwing it into the middle of their set, changing up the order and racing through each song as if they had a curfew. Valuing spontaneity over faithfulness, KING BUZZO, DALE CROVER and bassist TREVOR DUNN (MR. BUNGLE) emphasized Houdini's individual songs by playing the album out of order. For a record that gets more influential with nearly every passing alterna-metal trend, the Melvins made it all sound best coming from the original source. The relentlessly abrasive "Honey Bucket" almost stomped out post-metal pioneer "Hooch," and "Set Me Straight" was even catchier than their brutalKISS cover ("Goin' Blind.") Unearthing the tunes buried under "Night Goat" and the mosher "Copache," the Melvins seemed like they were almost capable of matching the success of their late '80s Seattle followers. But the Melvins' experimental side was always prevalent, especially in weirdoid closer "Spread Eagle Beagle" being worked into a haunting drum-off that held interest longer than its studio counterpart.

Outside of Houdini, the Melvins focused almost entirely on their earlier songs, which were potent if lacking Houdini's innovation. Speaking for the first time in all four Melvins' shows that I've caught, King Buzzo introduced his band and played a set of their early '80s hardcore roots before playing fan favorites like "It's Shoved" and "The Bit," which recently gained notoriety for MASTODON's cover version. Only one song from last year's killer Nude with Boots ("Suicide in Progess") made it into the set, and while I'd hope a band with such awesome recent material would play more of it, there's no denying the thrill of hearing an all-time great metal band playing every song on a classic album. Your turn, JUDAS PRIEST.

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