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Primus at the Main Street Armory, Review (Rochester Blog)

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Primus at Rochester’s Main Street Armory, Review

Primus Returns to the Stage with a New Album

Primus Rochester has always impressed me with its ability to attract topnotch bands from all over the country and even the world, and this past weekend was no exception. On Saturday, October 8th, I had the opportunity to see the very unique 90s American rock band Primus at the Main Street Armory. While the strange atmosphere and the wacky decorations definitely lived up to the band’s reputation, the music lacked a little bit in variety.

A huge building that lives up to its name, the armory was built to look like a fortress. Located right in the city of Rochester, the armory even did at one point serve as the military armory for the area. While the building was certainly large enough to accommodate the crowd, the doors are only so wide – it took about 45 minutes for the line to take me through security and inside, where the concert had already begun. However, once inside, the building felt much more roomy than I had anticipated.

For those who are unfamiliar with the band Primus, they have built quite a reputation for their unique sound and strange music. Frontman and lead singer Les Claypool is widely accepted as one of the best bass players in the world. He is also an accomplished composer, having written such pieces as the theme song for “South Park.” Even if one was new to the distinctive sound of Primus, however, simply walking in the door would be an instant indicator of what to expect – on both sides of the stage were large inflatable astronauts with projectors displaying loops of an older man’s face who appeared to be inside the suit and watching the crowd with a critical eye throughout the show. Behind the stage was another projection showing a variety of pictures and visualizers that followed the songs being played, often following along with the music videos.

With so many talented musicians in one place, the band’s live performance was an exciting show. Frequently peppering each song with extended solos and putting new spins on old pieces, Primus certainly showcased their ability to improvise and put on a good concert. Both old and new songs were given new twists and, in many cases, a new breath of life. A song that particularly stuck with me was one off their new album, Green Naugahyde, entitled “Eyes of the Squirrel.” It’s impossible to fully explain in words why I liked the song, but it definitely fits what I have come to expect from the band.

While the atmosphere and the performance were about what I expected, the variety and song choice was a bit of a disappointment. Near the start of the concert, Claypool joked about the crowd wanting to hear “all of the really obscure songs,” which he then lived up to. I realize that recording artists must get bored performing the same 10 hits at every show, but it’s what every touring band needs to do; it’s what the fans pay for. Primus disappointed me with their set of predominantly obscure songs – old music as well as pieces from their recently released album “Green Naugahyde.” I wasn’t alone in my disappointment either – as I looked around during the show, this concert definitely had the lowest energy level of any show I’ve seen. Primus was exciting to see live, but it would appear that they’ve begun to get a little tired of touring all these years.

James Hallahan is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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