Primus Mystifies The Majestic Theater In San Antonio, Texas

November 17, 2014
Majestic Theater- San Antonio, TX

        The famous & beautiful Majestic Theater sits in the heart of San Antonio & is one of the oldest venues in the South Texas city that’s notably famous for the Alamo. The Majestic Theater was built in 1929 & was constructed to look like you’re outside surrounded by beautifully structured Spanish Mediterranean architecture. The perfect setting for a night of Primus! The lines to the merchandise center were long but moved swiftly; the ushers were dressed to the nines dawned in tuxedos, & kindly introduced the people to their seats, giving directions to find restrooms & the bar; over the loud speakers were old timely, novelty-songs written for cartoons that were produced in the 1920’s; on schedule the house lights dimmed and the music faded away slowly. The painted sky overhead you could see bright LED lights replicating the Texas sized sky. Pretty soon you could hear music coming over the loud speakers that sends a rush of childhood memories to the cerebral cortex of each individual present that night.
Like magic the lights faded in, slightly illuminating the trio on stage as they opened this amazing 24 song set-list with American Life off their 2nd studio album Sailing the Seas of Cheese. Sailing the Seas of Cheese peaked at #2 on Billboards Heatseekers & Billboard’s top 200 at #116 in 1991. Les Claypool’s unmistakable bass technique began the prodigiously phenomenal funk-metal song sending the crowd into an excited frenzy of cheers, hoots and hollers. The very moment the song began, audience members from front to back began to stand up from their seats bobbing their heads & singing along with Claypool as a few fans played their “Air-Basses”. The band went on to play their hit single Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver. This hilariously funny double-entendre was the first single off Primus’ 1995 album Tales from the Punchbowl. The album peaked at #8 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums while the track peaked at #12 on Billboard’s Top Alternative Rock Tracks and #23 on Bilboard’s Top Mainstream Rock Tracks & #62 on Billboard’s Hot 100 AirplayWynona’s Big Brown Beaver, garnered Primus a nomination for a Grammy Award on “Best Hard Rock Performance” in 1996. If you have ever heard and seen Primus preform this gem live you’d understand exactly why. The live execution of Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver is every bit as fascinating as the title of the song suggests alone. Primus performed the song with such spot on precision that it left most of the audience stunned in exhilarated amazement as Les Claypool did is signature march around the stage slapping his bass as he does when the music hits him the right way. Just as Primus brought the song to an end, they accepted a standing ovation from the already awesomely received crowd.
JHW_0714Off Primus’ 7th studio album, the band played Last Salmon Man. Last Salmon Man, is one of those songs by Primus that has a sound that is indeed unmistakably Primus. The song has a bass riffs that makes you get carried away in the rhythm; as Claypool works his vigorous bass magic live in front of you for this rare occasion that is already by far catching heavy acclaim & well deserving of. The drumming during this live performance of Last Salmon Man can easily send you into a well wanted musically induced trance as you listen to Tim “Herb” Alexander’s phenomenal & technically sound percussions while Larry LaLonde plays a spacy lead guitar behind it all. Primus musically tore up the stage with their phenomenal funk-metal hits Over The Falls, Lee Van Cleef & an amazing drum solo performance from the hit Primus song Eleven. The Eleven drum solo bled seamlessly into Harold of the Rocks; again sending the crowd into an excited standing ovation. Primus ended their first set with the very song that propelled them into Rock-n-Roll history & is also their second single ever, Jerry was a Racecar Driver.  The audience goes wild again upon hearing the opening riffs of the chart topping hit single. Fans of every age could be seen dancing at their seats & some in the isles while Claypool bounced his leg in HIGH rhythm to the drums and his own bass slapping; while marching in a pacing fashion, as the very music they were playing again grabs Claypool himself by the booboo… One of the very things fans love about Les Claypool other than his genius musical ability with the bass guitar is watching him as he truly feels the music he wrote & performs.
The lights slowly faded away and the house lights came on as the stage curtain came down slowly covering up the set from prying eyes as they build something spectacular for the fans to experience… Lines of people started making their way out doors during this small intermission to feed their monkeys as they all lit up a cigarette. Walking back into the venue the fans were greeted with smiles from the amazing ushers… One Usher is over heard directing foot traffic towards the end of the bathroom lines as another Usher was helping others get their drinks & find their seats again. The time of the evening had come and almost everyone had been reseated in their places. Over the concert stacks came a sound, something wickedly wild & “Wonka-esk” also very reminiscent of Pink Floyd & War of the Worlds
The audience stood to their feet and began cheering louder and louder as the seconds ticked closer to the 2nd set. Beautifully wondrous lights began flashing behind the curtain as the music played. The stage curtain slowly raised revealing a little of what was in store for the diehard Primus fans that night. Oversized candy lined the front of the stage, from large gum drops, to massively huge peppermint candies & lollypops. The curtains raised up even further revealing the Fungi Ensemble & Primus dawned in amazing costumes. In a deep stoned, vaudevillian type of voice, Less Claypool began singing the lyrics to the Candy Man from the 1971 groundbreaking hit film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory while they performed their musical instruments to the amazing tune. As one would expect Primus performed the soundtrack to the hit film in order as they appear in the film. All the while on a large LED screen in the background played bits of the film, re-edited to fit the fascinating night of sight & sound…
Primus wowed the crowd with an amazing cover of Cheer up Charlie and astounded the crowd with Golden Ticket before peeling wigs back with LaLonde’s guitar version of Lermaninoff… Directly after Lermaninoff the band continued with Pure Imagination. Next thing you know we begin hearing the low bass notes flying from Claypool’s magic fingers as they played the very recognizable Oompa Loompa song directed towards Willy Wonka chracter, Augustus Gloop. During this phenomenal cover 2 Oompa Loompas began walking out on stage to the beat of the music from opposite ends, stopping in the center & giving the crowd a well-received Oompa Loompa dance… In rapid succession Primus continued this wonderful set with Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride; Oompa Violet; I Want it Now; Oompa Veruca; Wonka-mobile; Oompa TV & ended this phenomenal set with Farewell Wonkites. JHW_0819
The crowd yet again gives Primus a well-deserved standing ovation & began to chant “PRIMUS SUCKS, PRIMUS SUCKS, PRIMUS SUCKS, PRIMUS SUCKS” Tu-whit Primus came back on stage to perform a 2 song encore that included a 15 minute version of their sleeper hit Southbound Pachyderm with The Fungi Ensemble… The Ensemble also helped Primus as they ended the night with yet another of their sleeper hit singles Here Come the Bastards. Not one voice was silent in the Majestic Theater as every fan in attendance was singing along with the lyrics to the song verbatim “Here they come; here come the bastards, I heard it from a confident – Who heard it form a confidant, they’re definitely on their way… There’s one with this idea, something about a hammer head shark, Nose-hairs, and flatus… Best keep your distance because; here they come, here come the bastards. Bury your head deep in the sand, anonymity is a virtue in this day and age. Amazing hand dexterity, flagrant misuse of security… Better run, run, run, run, run Run Run Run Run, here they come.” This is indeed a wonderful night of Sight & Sound as Primus performs for you a 24 song set-list… Yet again another show that will leaving you loathing yourself and your partner if you miss this phenomenally fabulous event.
At this time I’d love to thank Primus’ & their PR for remembering and allowing us to cover such an amazing night. We here at Soundcheck411 would also like to thank the Majestic & Empire theaters Staff members for being on-the-ball and for their extremely helpful mannerism(s) going out of the way to make sure everything was copasetic… Everyone from the Media Personal to the Production Manager were phenomenally helpful. I’d like to extend a special thank you to the Production Manager for allowing us to photographically cover 8 songs during this unparalleled event.

Review by: Jared Wingate