Gig Review: Primus Bring 3D Show to Pomona, California’s Fox Theater

Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde and Jay Lane, collectively known as Primus, started doing a run of "Primus 3D" tour dates last year, and they've extended it into another tour leg for 2013.

The show promised to augment Primus’ music with 3D visuals and Surround Sound for an entire evening with no opening act. The Fox Theater in Pomona, California, played host to one such show on May 19, and the place became Primusville for the evening.

The giant horde of Primus fans flocked to enter the gates of the Fox, the merch lines were long, and the specially made event posters, priced at a hefty $30, were selling like hot cakes. Everyone picked up their free 3D glasses upon entering, and the backdrop screen displayed this warning:

“Images presented here may cause symptoms of vertigo or motion sickness to those with sensitive constitutions. If feelings of dizziness or nausea become apparent, remove glasses, look away from the screen and try not to vomit on your neighbor.”

This turned out to be merely a statutory warning, more like a disclaimer than anything else, because none of the 3D visuals were of the kind that would cause motion sickness. In fact, my biggest concern going into the show was whether the visuals would distract from Primus' inherent goodness.

I know they’ve put in a lot of time, effort and money into making this a 3D show, but I wasn’t blown away by it. It didn’t add much, and I'd be totally fine seeing Primus play the music with regular 2D visuals. In fact, the floating layer of 3D visuals even overshadowed the wonderful stage presence of Les, Lar and Jay, as we could barely see them with the 3D in the forefront.

That said, the visuals did provide us with a few powerful moments, like during "Southbound Pachyderm," when we witnessed an effect that made us feel we were entering a spatial cave or something of that sort. It was psychedelic and one of the many highlights of the show. I enjoyed the Surround Sound, and I often simply closed my eyes to absorb the music.

Claypool is obviously the center of attention at a Primus show. Not to be outdone, however, LaLonde delighted the guitar lovers in the audience with his brilliant work throughout the set, especially on "Golden Boy" and "Over the Falls." He even dusted off a thrash metal riff when Claypool openly teased him about his stint with Possessed, but he followed it up with the bluesiest licks you'll ever hear. Meanwhile, Jay played his part on drums, keeping the crowd going even as Les and Lar changed and/or tuned their instruments.

The first set ended with crowd favorites "My Name Is Mud" and "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." As is customary in this "evening with Primus" format, there was a 25-minute half-time break at around 9:10 p.m., during which Popeye cartoons were shown on the screen.

This second set focused more on the music as Les talked much less frequently than he did in the first. It was a true musical display, with longer songs, plenty of rocking moments, tempo changes, a variety of bass instruments, pig masks and delightful guitar play by Lar on songs like "The Toys Go Winding Down" and "Harold of the Rocks." The encore began with an even more entertaining medley by him, consisting of Deep Purple and Slayer riffs. The show ended with "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver."

These 20 songs didn't leave any Primus fan disappointed, and in response to the genius show put on by Claypool & Co., the raucous crowd gave back plenty of energy to spur on the band. Every song was greeted with loud cheers, and people from the front row to the back indulged in jumping and dancing. "Jump pits" replaced the usual mosh pits at this show.

As for the 3D glasses, I’d say it helps taking them off in between songs just to give your eyes a breather. Besides the music and visuals, Claypool’s banter was brilliant, and his taking the mickey out of a certain fan from Liverpool was beyond hilarious. Owing to his goofy and eccentric personality, he had the crowd’s complete and undivided attention at all times.

Primus’ new show is well worth your money and then some.

Set List:

  • Set 1:
  • 01. Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
  • 02. Last Salmon Man
  • 03. Golden Boy
  • 04. Southbound Pachyderm
  • 05. Over the Falls
  • 06. Lee Van Cleef
  • 07. John the Fisherman
  • 08. My Name Is Mud
  • 09. Jerry Was a Race Car Driver

Set 2:
10. Extinction Burst
11. Dirty Drowning Man
12. The Heckler
13. American Life
14. Seas of Cheese
15. Jilly's on Smack
16. The Toys Go Winding Down
17. Moron TV
18. Harold of the Rocks
20. Wynona's Big Brown Beaver

Remaining Tour Dates:

05.31 Winnipeg, MB—Burton Cummings Theatre
06.01 Maplewood, MN—Myth
06.02 Chicago, IL—Riviera Theater
06.05 Charlottesville, VA-nTelos Wireless Pavilion**
06.06 Hunter, NY—Mountain Jam Festival*
06.07 Toronto, ON—Danforth Music Hall
06.08 Toronto, ON—Danforth Music Hall
06.09 North Tonawanda, NY—Niagara River Rocks*
*Not a 3D show
**Co-headline with Gov’t Mule

Andrew Bansal is a writer who has been running his own website, Metal Assault, since early 2010, and has been prolific in covering the hard rock and heavy metal scene by posting interviews, news, reviews and pictures on his website — with the help of a small group of people. He briefly moved away from the Los Angeles scene and explored metal in India, but he is now back in LA continuing from where he left off.

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