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Primus build Chocolate Factory in South London

Live Review

Venue: Brixton Academy, London

Psychedelic San Franciscan's return to London for two-set soiree

Outside the venue, a curious passer by wants to know what's going on.

“Who's playing tonight” he asks.

“Primus,” this writer replies.

“What sort of music is that?”

“Well... imagine if Hanna-Barbera had created Rush,” comes the inadequate response.

Therein lies the Primus conundrum. Because, how do you verbally describe this most individual of bands? Just when you think you have them pegged, they'll throw in something to confront you. And that's true of the way they tackle tonight's two distinct sets.

The first is an opportunity to play some of their more popular compositions. Opening with Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers and Last Salmon Man, they clearly display their 70s classic rock roots. You can hear the ghosts of ZZ Top, Bowie, Aerosmith and Van Halen in Wynona's Big Brown Beaver, Lee Van Cleef and Eleven

You can dance to the groove, as many here do, yet Primus have dismembered  and dislocated the rhythms, reconstructing the songs as dysfunctional brain teasers. These allow Les Claypool to display his bass dexterity, while Larry LaLonde flashes through guitar heroics and Tim Alexander breaks in with disorienting drum fills. 

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