Primus Kicks Off National Tour

Bay Area alt-rockers Primus surprise fans with intimate club gig.

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Bay Area rockers Primus played an unusually intimate show at the Great American Music Hall Sunday night.
Josh Keppel
The band played a “Über Secret Warm Up Show” before hitting the road with a summer and fall of tours across North America.
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Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was that original drummer Jay Lane is back in the band after 20 years.
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Never fear, Larry "Ler" LaLonde is still rounding out the three-piece, and was sounding great Sunday night!
Connor Patrick Whitman
Singer and bassist Les Claypool took the stage in a tall Mad Hatter lid that made the dark lighting conditions even harder to shoot in, so I had to "psychedelic" it up a bit.
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“So the story is, we were about to hit the road in a week or so and there’s this guy Jay here and he hasn’t played these songs in about 20 years,” Claypool said at the start of the show.
Josh Keppel
Drummer Jay Lane left Primus a few months before the band recorded their first album Suck On This in 1989, and Sunday night was the first show he’d played with the band since. And what a show it was!
Josh Keppel
“You’re going to get more Primus here tonight than you ever wanted,” Claypool announced after the band took the stage at the Great American Music Hall.
Josh Keppel
The band played two 10-song sets of music, no openers, just a full-on Primus aural assault.
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The set-list heavily favored the early tunes, to the delight of the audience, with at least half of the songs from Suck on This, Frizzle Fry and Sailing The Seas of Cheese getting their moment to shine.
Claypool asked if his East Bay hometown of El Sobrante was represented in the audience and then proclaimed: "You can take ol' Ler out of El Sobrante, but you can't get the El Sobranete outta Larry."
Josh Keppel
The last time Primus played the Bay Area was 2008 Outside Lands Festival, where they potentially played to tens of thousands. Sunday night they played to a room with the posted capacity of 470!
Josh Keppel
For the most part, the songs sounded just as they did 20 years ago, with some minor tweaking in Les’ vocal delivery on some tunes and some looping of his bass lines on other songs.
Josh Keppel
Primus will be leaving their Bay Area homes next week to hit the road for a three-week North American tour, first stop Toronto, ON (7/27), ending at the Santa Barbara County Bowl (8/15).
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One highlight should be on August 14 when Primus plays a “Special Midnight Show” in Las Vegas after legendary Primus musical influences Rush play earlier in the night.
Josh Keppel
I've seen Claypool many times in the last few years playing with his myriad of side projects, but it wasn't until the Primus show that I realized I hadn't seen his signature stomp around the stage in a long time.
Josh Keppel
There are no official Bay Area dates scheduled for this year, but rumor has it Primus will play a few nights at the Fox Theater in Oakland for their 20th Annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza.
If you don’t want to miss out on the Primus 2010 tour, Sacramento is about as close to the Bay Area as the band is scheduled to get (9/14), and I’ve heard that the Memorial Auditorium is a great place to see a show.
Here's the set-list from the first of two sets, with Jay Lane drawing by Les Claypool. My head had been to blown away to remember to get a picture of the second set-list, but here's what they played: To Defy, Tommy, Sgt. Baker, Frizzle, Golden, American, Falls, Mudd, Kalamazoo, Harold with John the Fisherman and Too Many Puppies as the encore.
GAMH bartender Jeff Gleason checks out the Zoltron designed poster for the night. Like an idiot I didn't buy one of the 100 that were hand-silkscreened for the show.
Josh Keppel
Primus, a family affair: John Scotland came to the show with his daughter Layla (right) and the woman "who made me a Grandpa," Mandy (left) who has a seven-month-old daughter Zoe with Scotland's son. All three are big Primus fans.
"Uber Fancy Guy" Fletch was invited to join in the post show festivities downstairs after the gig. You may remember him and his crazy headgear from my Claypool Cellars' wine launch party story ~
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Outside, John Patrick Foley claimed to be a roadie for Oysterhead, a fairly obscure reference to the band that is made up by Les Claypool, Trey Anastasio from Phish and Stewart Copeland from the Police. "Two of the most intelligent guys musically are Trey Anastasio and Les Claypool," Foley announced.
Josh Keppel
Inside boxes and boxes of gear were broken down and readied for the road. I was surprised at how much stuff there was at a show with very little frills, but they did have their own mixing board and Lane's drum kit looked like two put together.
Josh Keppel
Mr. Claypool, thank you for a wonderful evening. I take my hat off to you.
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