There's a sussing out period prior to a show starting where you get a brief glimpse into the lives of the people you're about to share a potentially revelatory experience with.
The usual suspects mill about considering it is a rowdy rock venue with a proximity to a Circle K and an auto wrecker shop in an industrial part of town
But then the surprises walk in.
Lovers on a date night who can still fit in their matching denim vests - living for tonight before the alarm clock sends them back to work in the morning. A young Indian woman in a Black Flag shirt, trailed by her parents in khaki pants - they didn't want to say no, but they couldn't let her run off alone. A single teenage boy, awkward in his new height and desperate to shrink beneath his shoulder length hair. The crusty biker with a far off look in his eye. The teen girl best friends chaperoned by the supportive parents who drew the short straw this time. The gearhead dudes taking photos of the guitar pedal setup.
We're all excited.
How often are you pulverized by a rock and roll monster? You're close enough to see the whites of its eyes as it eats you alive. The Melvins are that mythical monster and I am now that awkward teen trying to hide behind his hair, but I want to explode.
That's all you can hope for, right? Lunar liftoff on the back of a guitar riff. Three bizarre wizards unleashing a beautiful sludge. It drips from your ears as you run home to tell anyone who will listen.
But before The Melvins took the stage, opener We are the Asteroid provided exactly what you would expect from a band opening for The Melvins that has asteroid in its name.
Heavy. Relentless. Spacey trio of "freak rock" veterans.
The Melvins took the stage to the theme song from "Sanford and Son," as you do when you are about to obliterate a room of eager revelers, which included an older lady in a walker who staked her place near the front with unparalleled joy on her face.
The joy remained for 16 dynamic songs without a breath in between. Tight, dynamic, muscular and precise through songs ranging across their nearly 40 year career.
Forty years is a lot of nights on the road, sharpening your heavy metal chisels and using them to carve an undeniable hour of loving mayhem.
The lady with the walker stood a little taller. The teenage boy emerged from behind his hair. The teen girl best friends screamed in each other's faces. The lovers remained oblivious to the world around them. Everyone else had their faces melted.
As my mother said when I took her to see Motorhead: "For just three guys, they sure make a lot of noise."
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