Melvins know no years. They’re just too fucking good to be bothered with them. So, seeing the trio, now nearing its fifth (!) decade in existence, destroy a stage live is a bit like hovering above the historiography of it all. All content, no context.

The trio – Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Steven McDonald – came to Pittsburgh Sunday and played their goddamn hearts out with an eclectic setlist before a packed crowd at Rex Theatre in the heart of South Side. Punk-pop icons Redd Kross and studio guru Toshi Kasai opened the evening admirably.

The band wasted little time assaulting the ears, opening with a throttling take on “Sesame Street Meat,” off the Butthole Surfers pseudo-collaboration Hold It In. It was all hits and no misses from there, and King Buzzo and company unleashed a torrent of sludge/punk noise that pulled from every corner of their sizable discography. While a highlight of the evening for me was live staple “It’s Shoved,” off Bullhead – I have yet to hear a less-than-eruptive take on it from these guys over all the years and all the lineup changes – Melvins also wowed the crowd with energetic takes on “The Bit” (from Stag), “Honey Bucket” (from Houdini) and “Civilized Worm”[off (A) Senile Animal]. Shit, they even reached back to 1989 for a reprise of “Oven,” from the legendary Ozma LP.

I got the chance to interview Osborne a couple of weeks ago to advance the set for Pittsburgh Current and he talked, quite plainly, about the importance of taking indie-icon life very seriously. He doesn’t mess around with local tourism when on the road, except for the occasional visit to a good bookstore, and prefers take-out in the club to visiting a city-favorite haunt. He practices, soundchecks and performs without mucking about the place. He also is meticulous about his setlists (he compared them to constructing a Broadway musical) and that was evident in how Melvins ripped through song after song, sometimes seemingly without pause.

Curious about your chance to see this group of misfits live? It’s time to be converted.

10/9 – Hamden, CT – Space Ballroom

10/10 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw

10/11 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony

10/12 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts

10/13 – Baltimore, MD – Otto Bar

10/15 – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry

10/16 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle

10/17 – Charlotte, NC – Visualize Theatre

10/18 – Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club

10/19 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn

10/21 – Orlando, FL – The Social

10/22 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room

10/23 – Tampa, FL – The Orpheum

10/25 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall

10/26 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks

10/27 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon

10/28 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Studio

10/29 – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger

10/30 – Austin, TX – Mohawk

10/31 – Dallas, TX – Trees

11/3 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress

11/4 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom

11/5 – Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse Saloon

11/7 – Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar

11/8 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo


By Justin Vellucci

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer at MusicTAP and Popdose, a contributor to Pittsburgh City Paper and Punksburgh, and a former staffer at Delusions of Adequacy and Punk Planet. His music writing has appeared in national publications such as American Songwriter and PopMatters, alt-weeklies The Brooklyn Rail and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.