Words and Photos by Angela RoseRed
Crescent Ballroom’s mellow, hipster, venue, vibes were an unusual perfect pairing for a dynamic Mevlins’ show lineup in Phoenix, Arizona. This marked the second-to-last gig on their 54-show-run “Escape From L.A.” tour.
Toshi Kasai, noisician artist and longtime Melvins engineer/collaborator, rightfully kicked off the evening. His set began without a formal introduction to the crowd, which made the atmosphere more inclusive to its experimental nature. Kasai created extraterrestrial-infused, synthesized sounds that were choreographed alongside electronically graphic animation with a side of intense, blue lighting.
The noise pulled and weaved between various patterns, pitches, and rhythm. This variation caused internal rattling and at times peacefulness. It was an experience that demanded attention from audience members regardless of their opinion of the performance piece. His conclusion matched his no-explanation-entrance, only this time with a polite “thank you” and stationary hand in the air.
Next on the bill was alternative, power pop, rock ‘n’ roll foursome, Redd Kross. Their set was stocked with energy, guitar rips, harmonies, high kicks, and hair flips. They instantaneously fell into their musical pocket harmoniously and maintained consistency. Flashy stage moves, brotherly exchanges, and witty banter amongst band members brought fun energy to the crowded room. Natural excitement exuded with each catchy tune, which got the crowd good and primed.
After a brief break and outfit changes, Melvins emerged. Seasoned bass shredder Steven McDonald and legendary drummer Dale Crover played double duty ripping on back-to-back sets for both bands. An unknowing onlooker would not be able to tell the difference since they shredded this set just as hard, changing it up to match each group’s distinctive style.
As always, Buzz Osborn lead with his signature, sludge punk uniqueness which created a solid foundation to his guitar riffs and thick vocals. The show ended on an intense high when Crover invited the remaining Redd Kross members, guitarists/vocalists Jeff McDonald and Jason Shapiro, onto the stage.
With the connections and overlapping collaboration between all three acts, it was apparent that “keeping it in the family” was an underlying theme through the whole tour run. The intense synchronicity was enough to keep the crowd buzzed from the vibrations well after the music stopped.