Primus Sucks The Catalyst

Baby Matthew is Les Claypool’s nephew who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) only two months into his life. Being the good uncle Les is, a benefit show with MIRV was organized in order to raise money for ridiculously expensive medical costs.

One morning, a few weeks back, I saw the following post on Primus’s Facebook: “Tickets on sale today at 10AM for the Benefit show featuring Primus & MIRV at the Catalyst Friday March 18th.” AWESOME! I gave Ben a call, who, unless he has school or…well I guess just school, doesn’t normally get out of bed until at least 11:00AM.

“DUDE! Primus tickets. Less than an hour. I’m coming over.”

I got to his house with about 15 minutes to spare. Immediately at 10:00AM, the tickets were purchased and we were on for the 18th.

The day of the concert snuck up on us for sure. We both had work and school that whole week and it had been at least a few years since we last saw Primus or any of Claypool’s incarnations, so I don’t think the fact we were about to see Primus really hit us until the show actually started. We arrived in Santa Cruz around 7:00PM and already the line in front of the building was fairly long, so rather than idling in the rain like chumps, we somehow figured walking around in the rain for a bit would be a better option. Don’t question our logic. Once we decided Santa Cruz feels like a less shitty version of Berkeley, we got in line to wait for the doors to open. After getting inside and drying off a bit, we spent a little time in the bar upstairs, played some pool, pumped about $2 worth of quarters into Marvel Vs. Capcom and Open Tee machines just to find out they didn’t work (“FUCK THAT…beer me!”), and then waited for the show to start. Dear management at the Catalyst: If you read this, get the Marvel Vs. Capcom machine fixed because you will DEFINITELY make money off of it.

The crowds at larger shows never cease to amaze me, as they always seem to bring out some of the most interesting people. Primus fans are the cream of the crop; often times you get people dressed up in wacky outfits, lots of fun top hats, helmets, a few frog and pig masks…very entertaining.


The show started with San Francisco-based M.I.R.V. Out of every band I’ve seen play with Primus, they probably fit the bill the best. The sheer amount of skill, sound, lyrics, and just how weird they are with some well written songs about Chupacabras, mad scientists, and a great solo where Marc “Mirv” Haggard is screaming the notes he’s playing on guitar, add up to a band you must see live sometime.

Next was Primus. After a lot of screaming and hearing a few “PRIMUS SUCKS!” from the crowd, they emerged from backstage. After a short intro, they immediately go into “Pudding Time”. The crowd comes alive, the pit opens up, everyone is jumping around, and I remembered exactly why we rushed to buy those tickets: Primus. Is. Awesome.

After “Pudding Time”, Les retreated backstage for a moment and came back out with a pig mask and his electric stand-up bass. After Les gave a short speech about possibly making history with something called a “Waltz Pit”, they played “Seas of Cheese” and “Here Come the Bastards”. Throughout the entire show, several songs were turned into lengthy jam sessions, which were basically musical orgies for my ears. Other songs included “Ground Hogs Day”, “Sgt. Baker”, “Over the Falls”, “Those Damn Blue Collar Tweekers”, “My Name is Mud”,  “Harold of the Rocks”, and an awesome new song played after Les explained he hates fishing, called “Salmon Man”. As a fishing enthusiast, I call bullshit on that, Les.

Later on, we realized just how unique the set list was. Common songs you’d expect to see live such as “Mr. Krinkle”, “Tommy the Cat”, and “John the Fisherman” (more fishing songs, right Les?) were not played. After finishing the set with an epic encore of “Frizzle Fry”, we exited the venue (our minds completely blown) back outside into the pouring rain and drove home. I’ve been to a lot of concerts, seen a lot of bands, and I don’t know if it’s just how different they are, their skill, or maybe how long they’ve been around, but they really don’t make bands like Primus and M.I.R.V. anymore.

Read more about baby Matthew and donate:

-Sean Moore


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About Sean Moore
Senior Editor, Photographer at Wrecked Reviews

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