Back in London 364 days since their last appearance, the mighty Melvins play the Garage as a sweet prelude to this weekend's ATP festival in Minehead. Almost bouncing onto the stage to the tune of Rawhide, King Buzzo looks like he's in a terrific mood tonight, and he and Dale Crover play as a two piece for the first half hour of their set - just guitar and drums and vocals. This works really well - a real case of less is more - and it would seem that Buzz has abandoned his rather transistorised guitar sound of recent times for a big chunky amp sound again. Buzz and Dale run through a selection of Melvins tunes including a brilliant version of Black Bock and a rough round the (vocal) edges cover of "Let Me `Roll It" by Wings, before being joined by Jared Warren and Coady Willis and becoming the full version of the band.
They are in good form tonight - the setlist has changed a lot since last year, and the band sound enthusiastic for the newly selected material. We get to hear a really wide range of Melvins tunes from the popular (Hooch, The Bit) through to the obscure (Anaconda, Pigs Of The Roman Empire) plus another great cover version - Devo's Mr DNA (well spotted there Jimbo). Some technical issues create a couple of false-starts tonight, and a sudden departure from the stage for about 15 mins - quite unusual - but as soon as they get rolling again, they sound great. Plenty of tracks from last year's Nude With Boots, plus a host of classics including Night Goat, With Teeth and It's Shoved.
You can see why the Melvins are celebrating 25 years of left-field metal - never content to rest on their laurels, always shifting the line-up and band dynamics and always revisiting older material with a new approach. The Melvins is - and always will be - Buzz and Dale, and tonight they showed that they are perfectly capable of working just as a duo. I wouldn't feel cheated if that's how they chose to tour for a while. Still, it was great to hear them both ways tonight - the highlight of the show had to be Pigs Of The Roman Empire which wouldn't have sounded the same without Jared's huuuge bass sound. Anyway, you've just got to love a band that plays cover versions of songs by Wings, Alice Cooper and Devo in one gig.