Back in January, I wrote a two posts about a festival myself and Elly were planning on attending at the end of March, The Jam in the Dam and I even admitted that the reason I wanted to go so much was because of one act, Les Claypool, former lead singer and bassist for Primus, without question my favourite band of all time.
Since leaving Primus his music has become more and more interesting (and further from the mainstream) with each album, as he explores the far reaches of his musical influences and his (and his bands) musical abilities.
In the end we only went to one of the three nights. Because of the way the festival is run this meant that we could still take in most of the other acts as well. What a great idea two stages and they change the running order of the bands each night of the concert so if you really want to see all the bands you can catch them all over the three days.
For me, seeing Les was the primary objective of the entire trip and he really didn’t disappoint. While a part of me wishes there had been more classic Primus in the set, it was great to hear the newer material live and it brought the material to life for me in the way that a recording simply can’t. The set followed an almost Jazz like format of theme and variations on almost every track.
The band were astounding in their virtuosity and I cannot find the words to describe the performance other than to say that I have seen many great musicians and Virtuosos play live (Vai, Satriani, Ray Charles, Moving Hearts, Springsteen, Jimmy Cliff, Van Morrison, David Byrne, Stu Hamm, Arlo Guthrie and lots lots more) but Les Claypool and the 3 other members of his band blew me away, taking me on a musical Rollercoaster, I can honestly say, no single band has ever done for me in one concert before.
The closest comparable gig in my memory was the Fleadh Mor in 1993 and even then it takes the full range of bands over two days to equal the journey through a single set.
Apart from the music there was a very cool moment towards the end of the set. A fan simply placed their own Bass on the front of the stage, like an offering to the Gods How he managed to get a Bass into the Gig I don’t know but god loves a trier and on this occasion said fan was rewarded.
Not just having his instrument signed by one of the greatest Bassists of all times, not only having it played by one of the greatest Bassists of all time, but also getting slagged off from the stage because on a cold March evening he managed to get a bass into a hot concert venue and have it (only) slightly out of tune. All in good humour and proving that just because your incredible at something it doesn’t mean you have to be an ass about it, there are a lot of second rate popsters that could learn from Les and not just about music.
As for the rest of the evening, I wanted to see The New Mastersounds and Umphreys Magee, but as Les played first everything that came after was an anticlimax and tiredness set in rather quickly, I can’t help but think that if Les had been playing later, both myself and Elly would have lasted longer.
That said we did catch some of the groove stylings of The New Mastersounds and part of Umphreys Magee’s set and on any other night they would have been great gigs, but on the 22nd march 2010 everyone was outclassed and outperformed by the legendary Les Claypool.
To give you a flavour of the gig here’s some video’s from others that attended…
First up a compilation of some of the performers
And what was (for me) the most memorable track of the gig, Hendershot by Les Claypool, check out the “Surf Cello” in particular. Personally I just love the oddly lurching groove to this track