GIG REVIEW: Primus, Mastodon & JJUUJJUU Live at Freedom Hill Amphitheater, Sterling Heights, MI
On June 9th, 2018, Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Michigan was host of another concert featuring those three weirdos better known as Primus. Along for the ride was Mastodon and JJUUJJUU. Continuing the tradition, Primus has enlisted the work of several artist as each stop on the tour has a unique poster, so get there early to buy these weird and wonderful visions of creation.
It was quite the funkified night of rock and roll. Not even the unseasonably cool weather and light rain was going to put a damper on the crowd’s spirits to enjoy the show. JJUUJJUU is a group of four guys with the mission to jam. Reminiscent of rock bands of the 1970’s, JJUUJJUU is an, in the moment, type of live band that feeds off of the crowd and goes as far as the audience will let them. I really felt them taking off once they started playing their third song which was an intensely fueled blend of smashing beats and guitar rhythms that got the crowd lively and in tune with what JJUUJJUU was all about, good times and jamming vibes.
Mastodon has been around for almost 2 decades and in that time, they have built up a strong following of loyal fans. It was easy to see why fans have remained loyal as Mastodon simply rocks their brand of music, which ranges from progressive rock, to sludge metal to stoner rock to heavy metal and they rock it well. Before the band even stepped out, I was impressed with the drum set which was done in black light type of artwork, very psychedelic and groovy, one of the best-looking drum sets I’ve ever seen.
Mastodon has a great vocal dynamic with bass guitarist Troy Sanders leading the bulk of the songs but also sharing vocal duties with drummer Brann Dailor and lead guitarist Brent Hinds and backing vocals from rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher. Mastodon played a long set that included hits spanning their career. With songs like “Megalodon”, “Mother Puncher” and “Steambreather”, Mastodon puts on an incredible musical display with their talent of playing so many genres of music contained within the songs and strong vocals that push the songs to new heights.
Mastodon shows no signs of slowing down and fans sure as heck will be there to support Mastodon wherever they play. Brann Dailor spoke to the crowd after their set thanking the fans for all the support over the years and that he was going to go backstage and get naked….so he could take a shower then get changed into some clean clothes and grab a Dixie cup full of beer to watch Primus with the fans. With that display of good humor from Dailor and some funny faces from Sanders while performing, these guys clearly are having a great time and it resonates into the crowd.
Primus headlined the evening and kicked things off with some classics like “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers”, “Too Many Puppies” and “Groundhog’s Day” before launching into a run of new material playing their latest album, ‘The Desaturating Seven’, in its entirety, that told tales about the seven rainbow goblins. With video screens behind the band showing artworks of the goblins in various scenarios. The album was inspired from children’s book The Rainbow Goblins, written by Ul de Rico. Lead singer and bassist Les Claypool read the book to his children and with Larry LaLonde on guitar and Tim Alexander on drums, they made a concept album based off the story. ‘The Desaturating Seven’ is some of Primus’ most progressive rock heavy albums yet. It doesn’t have the catchy hooks and rhythms of the Primus classics that are so beloved, but fans appreciated the musicianship created on the new album.
The crowd ramped up once Primus got back to the familiar funky beats as Brann Dailor came out to join on drums for “Peter Gabriel Intruder”. Then Primus got the fans overjoyed with “Welcome To This World”, “My Name Is Mud”, “Jerry Was A Racecar Driver” and capping the evening off with “Tommy The Cat”.
With chants of Primus sucks, Primus sucks, Primus sucks ringing out from fans, you might think the crowd was turning on the band, but any true Primus fan will know that it’s a term of endearment and with that I say, Primus Sucks!
A great night of funky and groovy music was put out by all three bands that had fans jumping for joy and shaking their bodies to the beat. JJUUJJUU set em up, Mastodon bowled em over and Primus never disappoints. If you seek funky rock and roll that’s not afraid to experiment, then this is the tour to witness.