Granada Theater became the stage for a raucous night of crushing sound as sludge rock legends Melvins and Boris took Dallas by storm last Wednesday night. The show was a part of the bands’ Twins of Evil tour which marks the Melvin’s fortieth anniversary.
The opener, Mr. Phylzzz (pronounced Mr. Fly), was an energetic opener with a bit of oddball energy. The lead singer’s habit of using an exaggeratedly high-pitch talking voice was certainly memorable, but so too was the moment Boris drummer, Atsuo, came out dressed in a Buc-ee’s onesie joined by Melvins drummer, Coady Willis (filling in for longtime Melvins drummer Dale Crover, who is recovering from spinal surgery), to triple the number of drummers for Mr. Phylzzz’s last song.
Melvins, one of the first bands to bridge the divide between left of field punk music and the more melodic sounds of classic rock, thrash, and heavy metal, has had an industrious and prolific career, continuing to put out new music to this day. For this celebratory fortieth anniversary tour, the band is playing their 1991 album, Bullhead, one of their most beloved classics, in its entirety.
The ethos of keeping the spirit of early heavy music alive was palpable in Melvin’s fiery, grimy performance; even the Pope might find himself involuntarily headbanging and holding up devil’s horns to Buzz Osborne’s Gene Simmons-esque vocals and Coady Willis’ bombastic drums. Channeling in equal measure The Beatles and Black Flag, Kiss and Black Sabbath, Melvins’ threw down to the excitement of a diverse crowd, ranging from old head punks to bright-eyed newcomers (you could tell by their moshing skills).
Melvins brought their set to an end, fittingly, with the song “Boris” (those familiar with Boris will know they derived not only their name from Melvins but also a large part of their sound). Buzz’s theatrical vocal delivery and final few dissonant guitar chords echoed around the room as the crowd began to process the carnage, they had just taken part in.
Boris took to the stage and promptly began to transfix the audience with their signature blend of droning passages of hauntingly heavy guitars and fast-paced, high-energy bouts of effortless, ferocious shredding. The combined effect is one of the biggest sounds produced by a three-piece band since Rush. In addition to their awesome sound, the band’s gothic takes on glam rock aesthetics made for an alluringly theatrical performance.
One consequence of Boris’ characteristic loudness, though, was the complete silencing of the vocals. While I would have loved to experience Takeshi’s impassioned howls live, the band’s instrumental performance alone was compelling enough to make for one of my favorite concert experiences since I’ve come to DFW.
With the Twins of Evil Tour, Boris and Melvins have put together a blood pumping experience of musical malevolence to ring in the Halloween season. One leaves such a performance with a renewed appreciation of the spirit of good old fashion rock and roll which is the animus of all good heavy music.