"Those bands straightened up the sludge, and constantly shifting time signatures and arrangements, leaving Melvins as true progenitors of their sound."
Take two long-established bands who operate in different areas of the rock'n'roll spectrum, co-share members of each band and you've got some interesting dynamics and reconfigurations of sound and style.
It has been just shy of a quarter-century since Redd Kross first visited Sydney when they were riding high on the alt-rock revolution. In 2017 they've still got the strut and power-pop pout of their mid-period, the snottier punk brashness of their early years and the more mature rock-leaning sound of recent times. Frontman Jeff McDonald, in a glittering, gold-sleeved shirt, was all extravagant hand gestures and cross-stage striding while brother Steve looked like he was in seventh heaven, grinning away amid high kicks and knee drops. Melvins drummer Dale Crover was behind the kit and, although impressive, his playing style overshadowed Redd Kross' subtleties, both in power and volume, and it felt like the band were working overtime, overcooking their sound to keep up with him. They played a cross-section of their back catalog, including their biggest song Jimmy's Fantasy, plus a brace of covers including The Beatles, Bowie, Deuce by Kiss and The Stooges' Ann — the perfect summation of their glam, pop-rock sound.
By contrast, Melvins were right in the pocket with a balanced sound across Crover's pummelling drums, Steve McDonald's "lead bass" (as Crover described it) and singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne's clinically visceral guitar. Witnessing Melvins live really drives home what an influence they've been to everyone from Tool to Faith No More, Nirvana, Kyuss and Soundgarden. Those bands straightened up the sludge, and constantly shifting time signatures and arrangements, leaving Melvins as true progenitors of their sound. They too covered/reimagined The Beatles (I Want To Hold Your Hand) amid other crunching, riff-heavy highlights such as The Kicking Machine, Queen and Hideous Woman. Osborne left the banter to Crover and McDonald, focusing instead on his stentorian bark-and-howl vocals and complex guitar riffs. Their sweet spot between primitive head-nodding metal and 'head-shaking in disbelief' prog-rock made for a thoroughly entertaining gig.