Melvins + Redd Kross @ Institute, Birmingham – Friday 13 October 2017


Ooh, scary… and lots of fun

Witnessed by Jason Guest

On Friday the 13th, the unluckiest of unlucky days, only alternate rock / psychedelic pop purveyors Redd Kross could bring such joy to the world. And, lucky for us, with the venue’s doors opening at 6pm and with a curfew of 10pm in place, we need catchy melodies and singalong songs to make up for our Friday night fun being curtailed at such an un-Friday-night hour. The band are greeted with many a smile and their music is greeted with many an outpouring of joy. Yes, joy. And like the smiles from the crowd, the energy never abates.

It’s as much in the music as it is in the performance. With many a ‘shalalala’, ‘oh yeah’, ‘yeah yeah’, ‘ooh’, happy harmony, exuberant melody from Jeff McDonald, high kick from bassist Steve MacDonald, happy clappy rhythms form Dale Crover (yes, he of Melvins), lovely lead lines form Jason Shapiro, and florescent apparel, and Redd Kross beaming from ear to ear and from head to toe, there’s no other word to aptly describe the Redd Kross experience. The anomaly that is Redd Kross (just when did they ever fit in?) are an absolute joy to behold (there’s that word again). Friday night has just been given a beautiful start. 25 years since Redd Kross last appeared on these shores, hopefully they’ll be back soon in support of new album.

In stark contrast to the psychedelic lovely brightness of Redd Kross, (the) Melvins are clad in black and bringing a level of menace to this ominous evening. Opening with a cover of Flipper’s ‘Sacrifice’ sets the tone for the show: dark, slow, brooding, and a suffocatingly-tight and intense performance. Buzz, as far left as he can get, hammers out the heavy riffs and booms out his low and slowly penetrating vocals. Redd Kross’s Steve McDonald’s bass lines dig into the groove and have us hanging on every bottomless note. And with Crover hitting hard and hitting sparingly, the space in the music fills the air with a threatening heft that few bands can deliver with such aplomb.

‘Oven’, ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Queen’ deepen the darkness before ‘The Kicking Machine’ kicks in and transforms the psychological chills into full-on physical battery. ‘It’s Shoved’ brings more of the same pounding before the band mangle the crap out of The Beatles’ ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and then kill it stone dead with ‘Euthanasia’ and the elephantine ‘Edgar The Elephant’. For the remainder of the set, the murky grooves deepen, the menace grows, the wrath and the rage that seethes within every riff, beat, and venomous growl grips us by the throat and slams us into the floor. (the) Melvins are massive, their sound ruthless and its power unremitting. It’s only when some guy fails a stage dive during closer ‘Roman Dog Bird’ that the band stops to make contact with the crowd to make sure he’s not damaged or dead. Nope, he’s okay, and so it’s back to the heft we go for (the) Melvins to finish off our Friday. Playing the second city twice in as many years, let’s hope we see them next year. They can bring Redd Kross too if they like.

Set List:

  1. Sacrifice (Flipper cover)
  2. Oven
  3. Anaconda
  4. Queen
  5. The Kicking Machine
  6. It’s Shoved
  7. I Want to Hold Your Hand (The Beatles cover)
  8. Euthanasia
  9. Edgar the Elephant
  10. The Bit
  11. Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad
  12. AMAZON
  13. Hung Bunny
  14. Roman Dog Bird

Melvins + Redd Kross 2017


  1. Red Kross !!! Fantastic !!! I love them !!!
    I still play ‘Show World’ from time to time. An alt version of Cheap Trick.

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