A strange but wonderful gift arrived slightly late for Christmas this year as Primus brought their 3D Tour to Balboa Theatre on December 27. Featuring a stage flanked by glowing LED lights, a large LED video screen, and a sound system with surround speakers, the band enhanced its already trippy brand of alt-rock with 3D visuals and gave everyone in attendance their own 3D specs to enjoy the experience.
Primus — whose current lineup consists of Les Claypool on bass, Larry LaLonde on guitar, and Jay Lane on drums — seemed to almost float among the visuals presented on the big screen, sometimes blending in with the shapes and colors that morphed along to their music. Never has this reviewer experienced a live concert mixed with 3D technology like the kind you normally find in movie theaters, and the only conclusion is that more bands need to try this out!
Primus played through two sets of classic favorites as well as newer tracks from 2011’s Green Naugahyde. Highlights from the album included “Lee Van Cleef,” “Last Salmon Man,” and “Jilly’s on Smack,” a sad ode to the dangers of drug abuse, for which the band just recently released a music video. Classic favorites included “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver,” “Harold of the Rocks,” and even “Too Many Puppies” was brought out for a raucous encore. The band also threw in a fantastic cover of Black Sabbath’s “Electric Funeral,” which they supplemented with projected visuals of a three-dimensional, animated graveyard.
Les Claypool is easily one of the best bass players alive, and seeing his skill and enthusiasm for playing is amazing. Some of the best parts of the show were when the band stretched out and jammed, extending some songs into solos traded between the guitar and bass. Jay Lane seems content to let Claypool and LaLonde explore sonic territory while he holds down an impeccable groove behind the kit. His style is noticeably different from that of previous Primus drummers, but it works well for the band well in its current incarnation.
Here’s hoping the new year brings another album and continued touring from this veteran act, which clearly still has some tricks up its sleeve.
Photos – Primus at Balboa Theatre