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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Review: Les Claypool and Primus soar in debut concert at Pavilion at Riverfront

UPDATED: Sun., Aug. 15, 2021

By Josh Neumeier For The Spokesman-Review

Spokane welcomed back live music on Friday the 13th with the one and only Primus. Les Claypool and associates have been laying down a melting pot of rhythmic enjoyment from heavy metal, punk and psychedelic rock for the past 30 years, and they haven’t skipped a beat since the first recorded pluck and slap of Claypool’s bass guitar.

With this being the first of many shows at the newly revamped Riverfront Park Pavilion, it did not disappoint with multiple bars, food vendors and lush green grass to enjoy the first lights and sounds of live music in more than 18 months.

Claypool walked out onto the stage slowly with the sounds of classic Looney Tunes playing softly just as his idols, Rush, did when they toured. Once the nostalgic soft cartoon sounds ended, it was go time at the Pavilion at Riverfront.

With the first note on Claypool’s bass, “Groundhog’s Day” was muffled by an eruption of applause, hoots and hollers from the hundreds in attendance. Light smoke surrounded the Lilac City, but it did not stifle the masses here – Spokane showed up to party.

Side by side, fans were letting loose with the mighty slaps of Claypool’s bass as a cohesive heartbeat, and the show rolled right into the Primus setlist of every fan’s dreams. Heavy-hittin’ tracks like “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” “American Life” and “Sgt. Baker” led to one of many Primus radio hits, “My Name Is Mud.”

The mini-setlist was finished, and a short intermission convened for snacks, water and adult beverages.

Paying homage to one-of-kind-rockers Rush, Primus dubbed this 2021 tour “A Tribute to Kings,” playing a specialty cover set of Rush’s “A Farewell to Kings” side A in its entirety after the original Primus setlist.

Fans of all ages were gifted this amazing opportunity to hear Claypool belt out “Closer to the Heart” and the title track, with a precisely replicated voice of Geddy Lee. This “thrash funk” mega trio gave this Rush fan a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this 1977 album performed live.

Walking offstage to the always heartwarming chant of “Primus sucks” in true fashion, the trio returned to grasp their tools of melodic mayhem and crushed out a few more originals, including “Southbound Pachyderm,” to the horde of screaming, moshing and dancing fans.

As the last string was plucked, the goblin rock trio walked off to Spokane fans shaking downtown with such praise that it could be heard blocks away in neighboring restaurants and bars. A smoked-filled night had ended, with high-fives, hugs and applause to awaken one’s soul with something that only this Primus experience could bring.

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