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Melvins, Spotlights

  • High Noon Saloon 701 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Melvins have been consistently releasing records at a pretty regular pace for 30 years, and their early output (up until the mid-90s) is an influential list of various proto-somethings. Melvins' 1987 full-length Gluey Porch Treatments not only left a mark on future sludge metal projects, but also holds up as one of the rawest and most adventurous examples of early grunge. Likewise, their 1991 release Bullhead also helped to paved the way for contemporary sludge metal and embraced a stonier side that reached back to Black Sabbath, while inspiring experimental metal groups like Boris (and giving that band its name). Lysol, from 1992, heralded the development of drone metal. Their major label debut, 1993's Houdini, which brought out the band's hookier side (and even includes a cover of Kiss song, "Goin' Blind"), serves as not only an accessible hard rock throwback record and a comparative commercial success, but also an enduring document of the pure energy Melvins can muster up at their best. However, this energy is best experienced in person—Melvins throw down some of the best live performances I personally have ever witnessed. Guitarist and vocalist Buzz Osborne mostly turns off the lovable, naturally goofy demeanor he displays in interviews and shapes himself into a professional-yet-unrestrained figure, coming off a bit more natural than most other long-living rock figures active today. Original member and drummer Dale Crover plays relentlessly and just behind the beat to give Melvins that iconically sludgy character. Whether you have kept up with all the albums (and your milage may vary with the more recent ones) hardly matters: A live Melvins experience is not to be missed. —Emili Earhart

Earlier Event: September 25
Theaster Gates (free)
Later Event: September 26
Ghost Bath, Tubal Cain, Red Museum