Houdini Live 2005: A Live History of Gluttony and Lust

  • Melvins
  • Ipecac
  • 2006-05-15

Some of us were lucky enought to get to the Koko last Autumn to see the awesome line-up of The Melvins, Deerhoof and Part Chimp performing in the first season of ATPs Dont Look Back gigs. With the second run steadily approaching it is fitting how we are offered example of how the whole DLB concept is a pure joy, not just bringing some near perfect moments in itself but it in sowing the seeds for things such as this — the matter in hand — the new live recording of (possibly) the best album by (possibly) the most influential band of the last two decades. But bearing in mind the fact that live albums are often none too exiting I shall build on those (uncertain) hyperbolic statements and try to point out what might make Houdini Live 2005: A Live History of Gluttony and Lust a worthwhile addition to a record collection.

Firstly, for those unlucky ones out there who never caught the gig (or the Dublin follow-up) — of which there must be more (than lucky) — you get a chance to hear what you missed out on.

Secondly, it’s not just a shitty live recording — this is planned and well-produced, well in fact it started out unplanned, in that the band only decided to make a live record after playing the original shows. But then they set up a speical gig in a warehouse near LA specifically to record and then played the album set twice through in order to get a decent recording, which they did (yes, it sounds better than the Millenium Monsterwork).

Thirdly, it’s not just Houdini straight — the band muck around with the order and the songs, adding in snippets of other material and elongating sections allowing for added tension and distortion.

If you’re a Melvins fan of course you’re going to like this album. And if you’re not a Melvins fan then what’s going on?

Fourthly, Trevor Dunn. I had no qualms with Kevin Rutmanis, he seemed ok to me, but the band? They must’ve had qualms so he’s gone and who better to have stepped into the fold? Yes, reason number four — Trevor Dunn. (And hey, it even adds more intrigue to the Houdini bass-playing question)

Fifthly, Houdini Live 2005 rhymes.

Sixthly, Houdini was already a mean-rocking record from a huge band, now it sounds even more rock and the Melvins sound even more huge — specifically check out “Goin’ Blind” for this, and “Hooch”, and in fact I could just keep going. It goes fast and punk, it goes heavy and doom, it goes quirky and sludgy and it goes bang and at the end it goes on and on with penetrating percussion as the band are joined once again by…

Seventhly, Lustmord on “Spread Eagle Beagle” — making some noise.

If you are still reading this to decide whether or not to buy the album then you’re probably not going to buy it but i’ll tell you you should anyway because it’s worth it. The Melvins relationship with Ipecac just keeps blossoming and blossoming as the Melvins themselves continue to grow (and indeed regroup) year after year. With more FantomasMelvins Big Band appearances and that Big Business proposition in the air it seems they are far from taking leave, as it should be. Some bands after a couple of decades together are still rocking out the favourites having not written a decent song for years. The Melvins, however, just cant stop writing great albums and so are needed to be requested to play old songs just so that people can guarantee hearing them. If you’re a Melvins fan of course you’re going to like this album. And if you’re not a Melvins fan then what’s going on?

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