Melvins – Redd Kross – Birmingham – live review


Redd Kross

Birmingham O2 Institute

October 13th 2017

Fighting Boredom like Melvins, we like the noise, the attitude and the hair, we also like Redd Kross. So when the two bands announced a tour together we knew we had to go. Read what we thought below.

When I first saw that Melvins were touring with Redd Kross I got a tad excited, possibly more excited than I should have got. I mean it was bad enough when one member of Redd Kross toured with Melvins on the back of the Basses Loaded album; but for the whole band to play…
You see Redd Kross made some of the finest life affirming psychedelic pop music in the world ever. Couple that with Melvins bass heavy sonic dirges and you’ve got to be heading towards an all round excellent night of music.

It’s an early start, the doors open at six as the curfew is ten before the club night starts, an odd time to be waiting for a band but we managed with the help of beer and anticipation. The space fills up slowly, Redd Kross come onstage, resplendent in Indian patterns, hooped and Donna Summer Afro tee-shirts, and the drummer bright in fluorescent orange. They start playing and everyone is smiling, they are as loud as ever and play the same brilliant bubblegum punk. They and we are undoubtedly older but the sound hasn’t aged a bit.

It’s perfect, the harmonies switch back and forth and the guitars swirl while the bass keeps your hips wiggling and the drums, played as hard as hell by Dale Crover who along with Steve McDonald played a double shift tonight. 
This is the music that teenage wasters got messed up to, this is my mispent youth distilled and served up raw, I am standing next to someone who was there then and we are both close to tears at the sheer joy coming off the stage. 
They are playing pure US power pop now, and they look like they are loving every second of being onstage, they are cool as hell, Steve high kicking his way through the songs, they talk about the last time they were in Birmingham twenty five years ago and we try and work out if we were there. 
The singer is crooning through a glitter scarf draped over his head now, it’s slow and low and utterly cool. The sound is a little rough around the edges but they were first and foremost a punk band so the roughness matters not a bit. The last track goes from punk thrash into a full on psychedelic sprawl and then swaps and switches between the two. They are a band that were always out of time and only really made sense to those of us that let them. But to see them now is just Joyful, we need smiles right now.

Melvins are all in black, there’s a touch of menace in the hall now as it fills up. They start slow and sweetly but you know damn well that it’s going South quickly. 

Buzz stands as far to the left as he possibly can, hair freshly shocked into a madman’s Sideshow Bob cactus explosion. He sings like Ozzy on mogadon. The bass hits you in the guts hard and all of a sudden the noise is all encompassing and huge. Slow and low but as powerful as a breeze block on the head. It’s all about the space around the music, nothing is rushed, nothing is wasted, there’s no fat here that needs trimming, just prime meat. Buzz is now prowling the stage like he wants to kill someone, or at least mess them up just a bit. 
They are so together it’s mad. They slot in to the groove and hold it tight as it’s seeps into your brain and batters you into submission. By rights every Doom, Stoner, Grungehead and Metal fanatic in the West Midlands should have been made to come to this gig, there’s not many of them that don’t owe Melvins at least a nod for influencing something they listen to. The majestic noise melts into the Beatles I Wanna Hold Your Hand, they’ve taken the song, eaten it and spewed it back out again.
The sound is slow with interludes of bass and drums filling in the space as they explode but the band are perfectly focused on creating this noise, after all, they’ve been doing this forever. 
The groove carries on and on, it’s stoner rock for the dead, the bass and drums are punching you in the face repeatedly and the monstrous fuzz guitar is emptying your brain. They are relentless and they are still going because at some moments in your life this nosie is all that you need. the sound of fury, loss and seething anger distilled and given life. This sound never stops, it’s been here for as long as we have and will carry on long after. Melvins, all you need.
That both bands had the same rhythm section beggars belief and makes you respect just how good they are. Melvins and Redd Kross, a match made in heaven or hell, you choose.
Redd Kross

Melvins website is, they have a Facebook page and Tweet as @melvinsdotcom.

Redd Kross’ website is, they have a Facebook page and Tweet as @reddkross.

All pictures by Martin Ward, all words by Adrian Bloxham.

Adrian Bloxham

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