by Sara McCarthy
Staff Writer –
May 20, 2012 at The Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, NY
On a recent Sunday night, Syracuse was treated to a night of the adventurous and unique music offerings of Primus. The Landmark Theater recently renovated and brought back to its’ original glory, was the ideal choice for the concert, considering it was built for performances and the acoustics are phenomenal.
The crowd consisted of fans of all ages, from baby-boomers on down to toddlers wearing large pink ear enveloping earplugs. Hippies, professionals and overly made up individuals of both sexes roamed both floors of the venue before the music started.
The set for the evenings show was relatively simple, numerous oriental and Persian rugs were laid out over the stage floor. There was a large projection screen in the back that had synchronized images playing across it for each song. Two inflatable astronauts that stood at least ten foot tall flanked each side of the stage. Projected onto the helmet shields was the face of an elderly gentleman with deeply etched wrinkles and very pronounced facial features.
The trio that makes up Primus took the stage and immediately the crowd was on their feet dancing and singing along to “Here Come The Bastards.” Les Claypool (bass and vocals) and Larry LaLonde (guitar) playfully battled each other in just about each song, showcasing the ease in which they play. Watching Claypool with his numerous basses leaves one amazed, it is not very often you are able to see a master at work. Seeing him tool around in his trademark strut and playing the bass at times like a guitar, he made it look so easy. This is, of course, why he is viewed as one of today’s best bassists.
At one point, Les spoke to the crowd about being in Syracuse, and how they had taken a walk through downtown earlier in the day and there was nothing going on. In fact, he ended up walking into a church, and he felt that was a strange happening, as he likened LaLonde to the devil (jokingly, of course). Playing off each other, he asked LaLonde to play the solo the way Gerry Garcia would, and after a initial attempt that was not up to The Dead’s standards, LaLonde delivered exactly what Claypool had in mind!
Each successive song played through out the night trumped the one prior; they closed out the first hour and a half long set with “Over The Electric Grapevine.” To keep us occupied during the half and hour intermission, black and white Popeye cartoons were played on the projection screen. As each episode ended, the crowd cheered and overall was quite happy with the chosen episodes.
The second set was started with “Southbound Pachyderm” much to the delight of the fans, and the computer-generated elephant jumping on a trampoline added a touch of whimsy to the piece. As the night went on, the band got tighter and tighter as a unit and each song drew more energy from the crowd. Shutting down the second set with “Tommy The Cat,” which was interspersed with different songs by other artists, the crowd wasn’t quite ready for the night to end.
For an encore “Moron TV” and “Too Many Puppies” ended the show with clapping and screaming and whistling.
If you consider yourself a true fan of any type of music, you need to see Primus at least once. Watching the way Les Claypool plays bass and uses his tinny old-fashioned microphone to capture the crowd is a magical feat that everyone should witness.
Here Come the Bastards
The Eyes of the Squirrel
Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver
Tragedy’s a’ Comin’
Over the Falls
Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
Over the Electric Grapevine
Jilly’s on Smack
Lee Van Cleef
The Toys Go Winding Down
Tommy the Cat
Too Many Puppies
- DMV tease during Over the Falls
– One Better, Master of Puppets, Glide and Voodoo Chile teases during Tommy the Cat
– Tomorrow Never Knows tease during Moron TV