[Live Review] Melvins and Redd Kross at Hamden’s Space Ballroom

Melvins

It’s only been a year and a half since Melvins’ last release and tour for Pinkus Abortion Technician (which featured a second bassist, the Butthole Surfers’ Jeff Pinkus), yet singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne, drummer Dale Crover, and bassist Steve McDonald are already back at it. This time around the seasoned road warriors are bringing McDonald’s childhood band Redd Kross around with them which features McDonald’s brother Jeff on guitar and vocals. Crover and Steve McDonald are pulling marathon duties on this tour, doubling down with both bands and playing all night long…a feat that looks equally as impressive as it does exhausting.

The sludge vets stopped by Hamden, Connecticut’s Space Ballroom midway through their 10-week trek with Redd Kross. Though the rhythm section remained the same for both acts, the lighter (dare I say, poppier?) alt-rock tunes of the latter both complemented and differentiated itself from the deafening amp-crushing grunge-metal that Melvins served up.

During the Redd Kross set, both McDonalds came alive on stage. The brothers started the band while in middle school, breaking between 1997 and 2004 before picking back up for Round 2. Since their reunion, the band produced two albums, Researching the Blues in 2012 and this year’s Beyond the DoorCrover officially joined the band in 2017 setting the stage for this year’s tour and the collaboration between members of both acts.

The Redd Kross set blended heavy alternative sounds with power-pop, covers (The Beatles’ “It Won’t Be Long” and Sparks’ “When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way'”), and a healthy dose of the band’s newer material like “Beyond the Door” and “The Party Underground.” Older tracks “Linda Blair” and “Annette’s Got the Hits,” a cut from a 1983 compilation called Posh Hits Vol. 1, closed out the performance.

Melvins’ set was quite different from their last appearance in the area. Minus Pinkus’ additional bass, the band was far less sludgy but no less deafening. Crover’s unlimited reserve of energy is mind-boggling; he attacks his kit and he hits hard. Steve McDonald ate up the sold-out crowd’s vibe, smiling, skipping, and making faces at everyone in front of him. The dude is a character who loves his job and he was loved for it in return. Over three decades later, a Melvins show never disappoints. It’s a no-frills spectacle with zero fat to trim—a non-stop 90-minute ride that’s every bit as inciteful as it is dominating.

This tour is one you shouldn’t miss and there’s still time to catch these two bands in action together. They stop in Georgia tonight before hitting Florida, Texas, Arizona, and more starting next week. All remaining dates (and photos from the Hamden show) are below.

10/18 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
10/19 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
10/21 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
10/22 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Rom
10/23 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
10/25 – Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
10/26 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
10/27 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
10/28 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
10/29 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
10/30 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk
10/31 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
11/03 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
11/04 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
11/05 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse Saloon

Photos courtesy of John/coma323 and Aidan Stewart, as credited below. All others by TLW. McDonald in a white suit = Redd Kross shots; McDonald in a red/black suit = Melvins. Jeff McDonald is seen on stage with Melvins in a purple/black flannel. 

Melvins rocking out in Hamden. #melvins #themelvins #kingbuzzo #live #hamden #metal #escapefromla

37 Likes, 6 Comments – John (@coma323) on Instagram: “Melvins rocking out in Hamden. #melvins #themelvins #kingbuzzo #live #hamden #metal #escapefromla”

By Stewart:

Redd Kross

By TLW:

Buzz

Steve McDonald

Bands

Redd Kross

Both Bands

McDonald

“Sesame Street Meat” and “Kicking Machine” cut off on top

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