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Primus Returns To The Legendary ACL Live For A Band Of Dual Sets

Sep 10, 2021

Posted By Tracy Fuller

I am a music enthusiast with a deep love for the energy of crowded venues, loud music, & passionate fans. I have a diverse background that includes private security, talent buying, festival security planning, & media relations. I've also worked as a camera operator for various projects, including music videos featuring notable artists like Bernz, Tech N9ne, & Krizz Kaliko. Additionally, I am a camera operator for Full Moon Features, where I contribute to the production of horror movies.

The ACL Live Moody Theater embraced the weird on Thursday night as Primus arrived in Austin for a celebration of the bizarre.

The evening began with the return of Austin natives, The Sword, who came to the stage with hissing guitars, swelling the anticipation of their first song, and upon hitting the fever pitch slammed into the opening riffs of Freya. Like a strung bow finally released, this return to the stage for the band flew effortlessly through their setlist with fans roaring in excitement. The catharsis was lovingly sweet and also crunchy as the band served up a short but satisfying list of their hits, including Tres Brujas, Lawless Lands, and Cloak Of Feathers. The band even devoted an Austin encore in the form of Iron Swan, which was an audible thank you note for a hometown that had been waiting patiently for their regrouping.

After the house lights faded a second time, bombastic music blared on the PA welcoming to the stage the eclectic Alternative Rock Maestros, Primus into the spotlight.

Starting the first of their two sets, the thunderous riffage of the Les Claypool started to take shape in the form of Too Many Puppies, a favorite for the Dog-Friendly Austin, I’m sure. The first set was comprised of the best of the band’s nearly 40-year history and proceeded in a noticeably unusual format where songs could just blend in and out of each other. For instance, during My Name Is Mud, Les Claypool and the band just trailed off after the second verse and fit Jerry Was A Racecar Driver into the setlist before returning to Mud and the remainder of the song. It’s not that Primus is just weird for the sake of weird; almost in a way, it’s easier to make sense of their eccentric nature when their more cartoon-heavy influences are allowed to surface. Aside from the cartoons that play on the screen behind them, it goes a long way to explaining their most mainstream pop-culture nexuses coming in the form of South Park and Robot Chicken. Songs like Groundhog’s Day and Lee Van Cleef seem to show this floaty yet abrasive energy perfectly. It is also through songs like these that one understands that the band would probably have been passed over for their oddity long ago if not for the remarkable talent of its three members.

After a brief intermission, the band took the stage again for a complete cover of Rush’s A Farewell To Kings album. Why?

Just because.

Les is a big fan. These are the best reasons as far as anyone can discern. A powerful tribute to their progressive progenitors and a chance to see the band mark their claim as some of the finest musicians that fate has brought together. And it was well-received from the audience, especially when they were called upon to help sing the chorus to Closer To The Heart. Of course, once the final notes of Cygnus X-1 had rung out, Primus closed the night on an encore of their remaining material including The Toys Go Winding Down, Tommy The Cat, and A Southbound Pachyderm.

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