Primus and the Dead Kenny G's at the Fillmore Miami Beach, June 4

See the full 20-photo Primus at the Fillmore Miami Beach slideshow.


With the Dead Kenny G's

Fillmore Miami Beach

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Better Than: Pretty much any live music coming our way this month. I mean, what do we really have to look forward to? Katy Perry.

Primus is a strange thing. And the crowd that this Cali threesome drew to the Fillmore Miami Beach was strange too. Some were metalheads with straight hair, black pants, and Lamb of God shirts. Others were crunchy hippies in Grateful Dead tie-dyes and shorts.

They looked like they'd come for completely different shows, yet somehow it was still possible to tell they were there for Primus. Maybe it was the brazen drinking out in the parking lots and on the sidewalks. Maybe it was the funny look in their eyes.

The Dead Kenny G's set the tone. The trio -- headed by mad-scientist of the saxophone Skerik and all-around percussion badass Mike Dillon -- let loose on the early comers with their experimental sound. The frantic sax lines, heavy drums, and the ethereal chimes of Dillon's vibraphone might have sounded like noise to normal people, but Primus fans get it.

During the time between the Dead Kenny G's and Primus's sets, the excitement bubbled into total commotion. So when Primus took the stage, the packed house exploded into peals of applause and a strange feeling that had been creeping up all night manifested itself in that outlandish music.

There is something undeniably savage about Primus's music. Something aggressive and primitive. If a few silverback gorillas formed a rock band, it would probably sound like Primus. That vibe spilled out across the crowd, inciting crowd surfing and mosh pits that busted one poor drunk kid's face.

Behind the band, two massive blow-up astronauts blinked bizarre images of dogs wearing suits and elephants jumping on trampolines. No stranger than the concert posters given out featuring a fat lady drinking a beer and riding a dead dolphin. Perfectly normal stuff by Primus standards.

And the band played crowd favorites like "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver," mixing in some new material. Claypool also busted out a number of guitars throughout the night. The hollow-body came out after things got a little too crazy in the pit up front and somebody flung a beer onto the stage. It landed all over Claypool's bass and fried it. "Oh, I guess you don't want to hear that one," said Claypool as he was handed his hollow-body and a wave of "boos" was directed at the jerk who threw the beer.

When Primus finished, nobody moved. They just stood there screaming like a pack of wild monkeys for an encore. Slowly, the mindless shouting turned into a chant.

"Primus sucks! Primus Sucks," they shouted until the band finally emerged for a few more twisted tunes.

When the band took their bows and the lights came up, the sea of crazies packed into the Fillmore spilled out onto the streets of Miami Beach.

Outside, you could tell who just came from the Primus concert. Sure, they were easy to spot now, drunk and sweaty and covered in grime. But there's definitely a funny look in their eyes. Everyone at the Fillmore Saturday night had a screw loose somewhere. You have to be a little screwy to like Primus.

'Cause, you know, Primus sucks.

Critic's Notebook

Overheard in the Crowd: "Dude, I think I just ate like an eighth of 'shrooms." Sure, there's nothing wrong with eating some trippy snacks for a concert, and Primus is a great show for that kind of thing. But at least try to keep track of what you're eating. I can only imagine the crazy shit this guy must have seen. The music was intense after a couple shots of whiskey, let alone a sizeable dose of psychedelic drugs. Between the absurdities projected onto the space helmets of Primus's massive inflatable astronauts and Les Claypool donning a gorilla mask midway through the set for a spell, the question is not did he wig out but when did he wig out.

Primus's Setlist:

-"To Defy the Laws of Tradition"

-"Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread"

-"The Eyes of the Squirrel"

-"American Life"

-"Jerry Was A Race Car Driver"

-"Over the Electric Grapevine"

-"Drum and Whamola Jam"

-"Jilly's On Smack"

-"The Green Ranger"

-"Mr. Knowitall (False Start)"

-"Over The Falls"

-(New Song)

-"Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweakers"

-"Harold of the Rocks"


-"Southbound Pachyderm"

-- Chris Lazaga

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Miami New Times staff