Photo by Nate Reynolds via Nate Roboto Photography ©
King Buzzo has been doing things his way for over twenty years, and his solo acoustic tour is no different. Melvin’s singer/guitarist/songwriter never thought he would end playing bars or festivals on a solo tour, let alone with nothing but an acoustic guitar. “Solo acoustic is something I’d never thought I’d be doing. Maybe that’s why this will work!” Buzz told Rolling Stone prior to his kickoff show. He was right because this tour has resonated with fans and critics on slow march across America.His trademark “molk” (part metal, part folk) is as much fun stripped down as it is fully electric. It’s a unique vibe in contrast to the Melvins, but one rich with Buzzo’s heavy-handed influence.
I had the pleasure of seeing King Buzzo a few days ago in Louisville, KY. Zanzabar is a concert venue for local and national bands and serves as a vintage arcade as well. Walking in the front door, you’re met by a change machine, the precursor to an evening of old school challenges on the likes of Galaga, Rampage, or The Six Million Dollar Man pinball. The laid back vibe and killer craft beer menu was the perfect complement to a night of Buzzo.
Our favorite Sideshow Bob lookalike took the stage among a sea of cheers and applause, casually plugging in his guitar to the lone Vox amp already on stage. He eased into his first song, the Melvins number, Boris. A few people in the front row flinched when his booming vocals abruptly began. It was clear to me before the chorus, King Buzzo is electric and commanding in an unplugged setting. His next song was the powerful Alice Cooper cover, The Ballad of Dwight Fry. Osborne’s metal-meets-dark folk vocals added new depth and soul to the 1971 classic.
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Suicide In Progress
Dark Brown Teeth
Evil New War God
We Are Doomed
Let God Be Your Gardener
The show was a nice mix of songs from his forthcoming album, This Machine Kills Artists, the extensive Melvins catalog, and covers. In my twenty years of seeing the Melvins live, the solo show was such a treat. The scaled back venue added a great element of intimacy, and the crowd was more than appreciative of the rare performance. Buzz proved his buzzsaw (sorry) electric guitar playing translates well to acoustic, never losing his heavy down-picked stoner-rock feel even in the strummy songs. If you have the opportunity to see either King Buzzo or the Melvins in the future, get your ass there.