The ever-entertaining Primus is back together and hits the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis tonight. I dug out an old flyer and ticket stubs from a few of times that I've seen Les Claypool and crew.
First up is a flyer from Primus' first national tour right around the time that their debut album, Suck On This, was released in 1989. Believe it or not they played Gabe's Oasis in Iowa City, Iowa with fellow San Francisco transplants from Iowa City, Sonic Disruption Theory (SDT, Suburban Death Trip), and the beautifully named Iowa Beef Experience. Despite only holding about 200 people in the middle of nowhere, Gabe's used to get some great shows. I remember seeing all kinds of cool alternative metal and punk bands there such as Smashing Pumpkins (before they had released anything), Melvins, Das Damen, Bullet Lavolta, The Four Horsemen (with glam band Wildside!), Swingin' Teens, House Of Large Sizes, Babes In Toyland, L7, Animal Bag, Rights Of The Accused, Helios Creed, Voodoo Gearshift, Sludgeplow, The Cows, Helmet, and many others. I actually helped Wildside load their gear for a free pitcher of beer. Nirvana even played Gabe's on the Bleach tour. Anyways, I had a couple friends that were really tuned into the underground metal scene, and we went to check out Primus solely because they had a couple guys from Blind Illusion. This show might even have been before Suck On This was released. This is no doubt a legendary Gabe's show, and Claypool has been known to randomly shout "Gabe's!" during other, later shows they played in Iowa.
Of course, Primus went on to great things, and I didn't see them again until the end of the Pork Soda tour when they opened for Rush on the Counterparts tour in Moline, Illinois at The Mark of the Quad Cities in 1994. An odd pairing to be sure, but it worked. Despite having a population much larger than Iowa City, the Quad Cities (two cities each straddling the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois) didn't get many shows. Other shows I remember going to in the Quad Cities from 1987–1994 include Grim Reaper/Armored Saint/Helloween, Billy Squier/Blue Murder/King's X, Flotsam And Jetsam/Prong/Butt Lynt, Faith No More/Helmet, Jane's Addiction, and Megadeth/Stone Temple Pilots.
Probably the best Primus show I saw was on the Tales From The Punchbowl tour in 1995 at Memorial Hall in Kansas City. Former fIREHOSE frontman Mike Watt opened the show. The band was at the top of their game and played a great selection of songs.
The next time I saw Primus was on the Ozzfest in 1999 in San Bernardino, California. They really seemed out of place there, but it was still a great show. I have some great pictures from that show, but I haven't had the chance to scan some in yet. Which brings me to the last time I saw Primus in 2004. I was in Washington, DC on a business trip, and a friend (who had recently moved to Virginia) and I caught this show together. This was a cool show because there was no opening band, and after a brief set they played Sailing The Seas Of Cheese in its entirety. Primus always puts on a great show, so get to their concert tonight if you have the chance.
Primus plays tonight, Friday, October 1 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Supporting Primus will be Portugal The Man and Split Lip Rayfield.