Show Review: Melvins, Boris, and Mr. Phylzzz at the Metro in Chicago, IL

The new kids on the block, Mr. Phylzzz kicked off the night with their monstrous walls of noise filled with hooky riffs and melodic vocals that seem to capture what it feels to be in the eye of a storm. Interestingly enough, guitarist/vocalist, Clinton Jacob worked in comedy clubs for years before starting music providing him his foundation for live performance, working people in a room, and both expressing himself and the energy he embodies/wants to convey.

This seeps into Mr. Phylzzz’s music and their live performance making you think they have more experience as a live band than they actually do. Their fuzzy guitars, pounding beats, and powerful vocals make for a gritty sound that sounds like the soundtrack to a 4 a.m. Saturday night bender or even something I would listen to while cruising through Night City in Cyberpunk 2077.

When we talk about massively underrated bands and artists that influenced your favorite band, Melvins should be at the top of your list. Kickin’ ass since 1983 (I know, crazy right!), Melvins have been some of the biggest influences for bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and more that came out of the Seattle grunge/punk scene, but even beyond that inspiring Tool, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Mastodon, Pig Destroyer, Helmet, Baroness, and even their tour pals Boris demonstrating their long-standing influence and relevance.

While tough to describe and put into a single category, Melvins started out as a hardcore punk cementing themselves as legends in the genre, but they didn’t want to limit themselves to just one sound. Instead, they began to experiment and branch off in other sub-genres through their punk sound delving heavily into sludge and grunge metal/rock even incorporating elements of alt-metal and doom metal into their music. It didn’t end here though. You can even pick up aspects of noise music, jazz, and other ambient sounds throughout their work.

It really is incredible the influence Melvins have had on music over the course of several decades, yet still remain the underdogs. While everyone talks about Soundgarden, Neurosis, Eyehategod, among many others, Melvins often don’t get included which is baffling, yet if you go to a Melvins show you would never know that as they continually pack out each date on every tour they often times selling out shows.

What makes this Twins of Evil Tour extra special isn’t just that they’re touring with Boris, but that they’re also playing their entire third record, Bullhead, in its entirety.  While already revered as a punk band, this is when the world would start seeing Melvins really branching out into new sounds through this record incorporating more metal elements, longer songs, and more precise production rather than their previous jerky, down-and-dirty style.

A performance that was filled with life and personality in hand with killer riffs and bouncy grooves. Melvins are a spectacle to the highest degree. To no surprise, after 40 years of this, they’ve got every second down pat from their flamboyant outfits, bizarre and downright weird aesthetic, thrilling vocal harmonies, dirty crushing tones and chugs, and whacky rhythms. Melvins continue to impress performing an incredibly tight set where every second was calculated and served a purpose never stopping the music once, but also making sure there was something on stage occurring during song changes or tuning. One of the more unique sets I’ve seen—I would encourage anyone to check them out at least once.

Probably one of the more innovative artists I’ve seen and covered, Boris hit the stage with a veracity and energy I would have never expected. I didn’t really know too much about Boris before this show so I made sure to do some research on them, plus watch a couple of videos, but I wasn’t fully ready for what I would experience. Hailing from the land of the rising sun, Tokyo natives Boris began with humble beginnings but quickly found stardom and success in the States. Drawing from a wide variety of sounds and genres, Boris doesn’t believe in limiting themselves to any singular vision or genre pulling influence from noise music, sludge rock, metal, psychedelia, and more. Even more impressive though is Boris releasing 20 studio albums across their career along with a variety of other releases including live albums, EPs, singles, and collabs.

With each record and era of the band sound completely different from the last, Boris really does put their money where their mouth is when they say they don’t consider themselves to be any singular genre. Boris can be described as noise music, doom metal, post-rock, sludge, hardcore punk, ambient, shoegaze, crust, experimental, and everything else under the sun. Even though they got their start as a hardcore punk band they didn’t want to limit themselves to just that expanding beyond what anyone would believe they could.

Their live show reflects this perfectly, especially as they played their Heavy Rocks album in its entirety. Launching into a killer set, Boris had the crowd moshing, headbanging, and thrashing around the room matching each other’s energy perfectly. As performers, Boris were incredible and you could really see the musicianship at work in real-time as they fed off of each other, transitioned from track to track, or when their guitarist would switch from guitar to bass on his double-decker instrument.



Mr. Phylzzz

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