If there’s one thing that’s true about South By Southwest, it’s that much of it is based on access–the combinations of badges, wristbands, hand-stamps, and nods that get people into and behind the scenes of shows can be downright dizzying. To figure out what, exactly, it’s like to experience the festival with not so much as a wristband, we enlisted chief assumer (and former Austinite) Andy Beta to give us the outsider’s perspective. In this installment, he watches as the Melvins join forces with a car company.
With their official grave-green and black Scions zipping up and down South Congress looking for parking, it’s not hard to think of the Melvins as superheroes of the non-Nicholas Cage Ghost Rider variety. By the time the unholy alliance of Melvins and Big Business takes the stage at Stubb’s under the afternoon sun, lord knows it’s as fiery as said miscreant hero’s flaming pate. In fact, the Texas sun has reinstated my long-suppressed redneck (leading to the purchase of a nice and shiny belt buckle earlier in the day).
We’ve lost track of the number of Melvins renaissances we’ve been privy to, from Gluey Porch Treatments to the perfect trinity of corporate fuckery that was Houdini, Stoner Witch and Stag to last year’s A Senile Animal. Seeing King Buzzo and Dale Crover take the stage with Jared Warren and Coady Willis (ex-Karp, Murder City Devils, etc.), we think of the recent Swedish psych reissue Baby Grandmothers; Big Business is the young colt, while the Melvins perhaps are the grandparents, ready for quietude of the pasture.
But all thoughts of the Melvins’ agedness go right out the window when Crover and Coady fall into a martial lockstep that defies the lobes. As the sun beats down, they beat down, appearing as stereophonic hallucinations, two parts of one machine. Body fat begins to tremble and we cannot gauge if that’s our cell phone vibrating with another text message or the thrumming feedback of the band. It’s all about the two-kit attack. Crover is the Father, Coady is the Son, and the–holy fuck, this is immense. Our ears are instantly shot, to where we realize that Melvins care fuck-all about time (we shoulda known circa Lysol) and that we, in fact, are the grandpas.