July 8th, 2017 | Live reviews

Melvins_Troubadour_Lower_Res_0001 Photos by Joey Tobin Words by Zach Bilson

The Melvins are one of “those” live bands – ones that will pack LA venues with familiar faces every time they come to town. Put them in an opening slot for Sleep, as FYF did in January, and it becomes a co-headlining show; get them to headline The Troubadour on the day their new album drops, though, and it’s something truly special.

Friday’s set showcased A Walk With Love and Death (out now on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records) and a couple of new tracks, including the spectacularly named “Sober-delic (Acid Only),” which the sold-out crowd headbanged along to just as hard as classics like “Queen” and “The Bit.” Guitarist King Buzzo was in top form, whipping his signature white shock of hair in dazzling gold robes, while current bassist Steven McDonald played the comic to Buzzo’s straight man, wearing a furry vest and throwing out high kicks that would make Robert Pollard green with envy. Dale Crover, on the other hand, showed his own flair through raw skin-hitting power, smashing his way through bizarro-world reinterpretations of Bowie’s “Saviour Machine” and the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” true testaments to Melvins’ deftness at melding hooks and horror. Their tour will take them back around to the Echo on August 22nd – it’s an experience you won’t want to pass up.

NYC doom-gazers Spotlights entered the stage to droning feedback, bringing the meandering crowd’s focus front and center before they delved into their set. The husband-wife duo of Mario and Sarah Quintero (guitar and bass, respectively) dabble in a mix of electronic dream-pop and heavier-than-hell sludge metal, putting them alongside Jesu or Hum as extremists of both beauty and brutality. Live drummer Chris Enriquez added a visceral quality that made them a mesmerizing act – new track “Learn To Breathe” had even the staunchest of wallflowers thrashing along. Spotlights are joining the Melvins on a couple of tour legs, which they seemed excited about – aside from a couple of quiet “thank you’s,” their only address to the crowd was “The Melvins put out a kick-ass record today. You should all listen to it.”