at The Boiler Shop, Newcastle, U.K., June 2, 2023

MELVINS (Live at The Boiler Shop, Newcastle, U.K., June 2, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 30 years since the Melvins stood on stage at the now sadly defunct Riverside in Newcastle. Those wide-eyed kids who stood in awe in that dark, dinghy but ever so exciting club ball those years ago are now back with slightly less hair and a tad more weight around the belly but for an hour and a quarter, those years just rolled away as Melvins returned to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a band.

The influence of the Melvins cannot be overstated. As pioneers of Grunge before Grunge was even a word, they went on to inspire a generation of artists who turned the musical world on its head. While the mainstream embraced the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the Melvins, the real innovators, were often overlooked by all but their hardcore following but those in the know, knew fine well just how vital they were in the grand scheme.

Original members Buzz Osborne, on guitar and vocals and Dale Crover on drums, who himself was drummer in an early incarnation of Nirvana, were joined by bassist Steven Shane McDonald and they didn’t half whip up a fair sonic storm to mark their eagerly awaited return to the North of England.

A-ha’s classic “Take On Me” lulled the crowd into a false sense of security before being bludgeoned over the head with a ferocious “Snake Appeal” from their debut E.P Six Songs, a rather apt way to start their celebrations.

“Zodiac” and “Copache” continued the deep dive into their early repertoire before a spiky cover of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles took them back to their musical roots.

It wasn’t all looking back though as a pair from their most recent release Bad Moon Rising, “Never Say You’re Sorry” and the twisted harmonies of “Hammering” brought us bang up to date.

The glorious tight groove of “Let It Be” brought a different dynamic to the night before the fuzzed up riff of “A History Of Bad Men” shook the foundations to their core and the fast paced, almost Thrash-like “Honey Bucket” had the impressive Crover, drawing on hidden reserves on energy.

As the show drew to a close the taught riffing and snappy melody of “Revolve” brought a more commercial hook to the night before a couple of vintage cuts, “Night Goat” and “Boris” ended their Ruby Anniversary sludgefest in style.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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