The Melvins brought a chaotic cacophony of dense sludge metal to the Casbah.
By 9:30 p.m., the classic cramped Casbah was almost at its typical, sold-out capacity. Spotlights opened up the show with an impressive set of a heavy, shoegaze-esque doom songs. They were loud, they were heavy, but even though the crowd seemed to enjoy it, they never quite captured the hearts of the audience.
A heavy skepticism seemed to cloud the atmosphere of the room when they’d banter between songs, and maybe it’s just because it felt out of place for the nature of their music, but the crowd was definitely playing hard to get. Regardless, Spotlights played a strong set of songs and made the best of a somewhat unwilling crowd.
By the time the Melvins took to the stage, people mowed each other down to get a few feet closer to the front. Buzz Osborne’s sprawling mess of silvery curls poked up above the crowd before he stood atop the stage, smiled, and began to play.
The Melvins have a distinct brand of chaos and rhythmic pivots that create a musical dynamic of uncertainty. Wherever it is a song feels it is going, they seem to do the opposite, making for a wonderfully jarring and unexpected experience. It’s part of what makes their music so appealing to their legions of diehard fans, but also what makes them so challenging for others.
The Melvins are a band of few words, choosing to let their music speak for itself. They segued from song to song, barely pausing between them, blurring the line between compositions. At the end of their set, the crowd was hungry and wanteingmore, but like the legends they are, the band knew when to call it a night.
They left the stage amid the deafeningly loud applause, a heartbeat for a band that never quite reached the same levels of success as those they inspired. The Melvins sit among the great pillars of music, too far ahead for the audiences of their time. Perhaps now it seems, we’ve finally caught up.