Melvins – A&R Music Bar, Columbus, OH

1993’s “Honey Bucket” (very likely named after the portable restroom brand) and 1994’s “Revolve” are currently Melvin’s most popular songs on Spotify. If you had never heard either before, you might think they were Metallica b-sides from 1998’s And Justice for All. 

They weren’t moved to create a branded sound, but creating noise that moved them. Sometimes in hard-hitting rock riffs, and sometimes to accompany a groggy moodswing. Not imitating other bands, but hardly creating a consistent vibe that fans can rely on. They have had such a long career with several bassist and experimental sound change ups, it isadmirable for a fan to say they enjoy their entire catalog. Still, most fan favorites don’t include much of the experimental tunes.

With most new album releases, Melvins dare the public to classify them into a genre. This is no more evident anywhere than listening to their 2000 release Crybaby. Here, tracks 2 and 9 are fronted by Hank Williams III to cover Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man” and Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee” respectively. Last year’s Five Legged Dog is completely acoustic. In 1996’s Stag, you can find the distinctive sound of a trombone in “Bar-X the Rocking M”. You can also hear influences of Phish and Rob Zombie in a lot of their music.

Melvins have been an influence on punk and sludge rock for nearly 40 years. They have influenced many bands they would also support on tour. Founder Buzz Osborne introduced Nirvana to Dave Growl. Lori Black, Shirley Temple’s daughter was once their bassist. Gene Simmons covered a KISS song with them live in 1993. They have released 25 studio albums with their latest being Bad Mood Rising from earlier this year.

And now, while hip hop is king of record sales, they have a packed house in Columbus, OH at the A&R Music bar. Despite their outfits on stage, it was all about music on stage. There wasn’t even an encore. People didn’t scream along with founder, vocalists, guitarists Osborne’s lyrics. The audience gave approval throughout the set with cheers and exclamations, as if they were in church feeling what the reverend had to say.

King Buzzo has his own political beliefs, but Melvins don’t want anything but the music getting heavy. If you can’t understand the lyrics, they’re fine with you just having fun at their shows. They’re just a humble group that are glad they’ve had the impact they’ve had on rock music and still have the opportunity to perform the music they make.

Harry Acosta is a professional photographer who started out shooting concerts. He is an avid concertgoer and loves to capture his favorite musicians and unseen moments we take for granted in everyday life.

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