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PERFORMING ARTS

The Battlefield Band, still powerful after all these years.
The Battlefield Band, still powerful after all these years. (By Simon Hollington)

The acoustics of DAR Constitution Hall gave the band a remarkably clean sound Wednesday night, a near-studio mix -- at least after a nearly inaudible vocal on the opener. Thereafter, Claypool's voice came through clearly, which is rarely the case thanks to his nasal twang.

Most of the songs were relatively straight readings of album tracks. But the band got more expansive on "Groundhog's Day" and "Nature Boy," stretching the bridge into a full-on freakout, filling the hall with wah and fuzz as Claypool and guitarist Larry LaLonde traded solos, building improvisatory waves and then crashing back into the riff.

Newer songs were discarded for old favorites, which means that this latest reunion may not go as far as a new studio album for Claypool, LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander. Primus's fans are getting older (and growing longer beards), and ticket prices were not cheap. But for one more tour, at least, their chemistry was undimmed and musicianship still unmatched.

-- Alexander Remington

Primus

Now in its third decade -- and second greatest hits reunion tour in three years -- the power trio Primus stills gives its fans a reason to turn out, even if the songs remain the same. Singer-bassist Les Claypool and his mates put on a virtuoso show that combines metal, alternative rock and funk into a headbangers' delight.

The acoustics of DAR Constitution Hall gave the band a remarkably clean sound Wednesday night, a near-studio mix -- at least after a nearly inaudible vocal on the opener. Thereafter, Claypool's voice came through clearly, which is rarely the case thanks to his nasal twang.

Most of the songs were relatively straight readings of album tracks. But the band got more expansive on "Groundhog's Day" and "Nature Boy," stretching the bridge into a full-on freakout, filling the hall with wah and fuzz as Claypool and guitarist Larry LaLonde traded solos, building improvisatory waves and then crashing back into the riff.

Newer songs were discarded for old favorites, which means that this latest reunion may not go as far as a new studio album for Claypool, LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander. Primus's fans are getting older (and growing longer beards), and ticket prices were not cheap. But for one more tour, at least, their chemistry was undimmed and musicianship still unmatched.

-- Alexander Remington


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