San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

The Melvins and Boris deliver album-length masterclasses at House of Blues

A milestone celebration for the Melvins’ 40th, the night was marked by a mix of iconic tracks
Ethan Karlin
Boris concludes their “Twins of Evil Tour” with The Melvins at the House of Blues in San Diego.

Inside the walls of the House of Blues, San Diego, the evening of Oct. 16 pulsed with the unmistakable sludge rock and grunge rhythms of Boris and The Melvins. The show drew an impressive crowd, especially for a Monday night.

For newcomers to hear The Melvins’ pioneering grunge and sludge sound, the evening served as a memorable gateway. In their 40th year, and flanked by the eclectic sonic explorations of Boris, they reminded everyone of their landmark status in rock’s expansive world.

The “Twins of Evil Tour,” a collaboration between the two bands, ran seven weeks, which started  on Aug. 24 in Los Angeles and culminated in San Diego. The tour also included the energetic support of Mr. Phylzzz, adding another dimension to the musical experience.

Coady Scott Willis fills in for The Melvins drummer at The House of Blues. (Ethan Karlin)

As the dimmed lights of the House of Blues casted their glow over its distinctive artwork, a captivating ambiance set the tone for the night. Walls, adorned with eclectic pieces captured the spirit of music, provided a rich backdrop, allowing attendees to get into the evening’s performances.

The evening began with Clinton Jacob, the guitarist and vocalist, alongside drummer Danny Sein, making up the two-piece dynamo known as the noise rock band Mr. Phylzzz. During their set, they showed their unique ability to deliver a surprisingly expansive sound.

With their heavy wall of sound filled with hooky riffs and melodic vocals, Mr. Phylzzz captured the attention of the gathering from the start.

Before launching into their final song, Jacob spoke to the crowd with a light-hearted remark about being a two piece band. 

“Know that the one takeaway from this set is we are not the White Stripes,” Jacob said. “Quit asking.”

Navigating their set list, the duo played standout tracks such as “Pretend Friends,” “Dirty Hands,” “Mr. Entertainer” and “Kitty.” 

Their dynamic and commanding sound, especially for a two-member band, had its own vibe that undeniably grabbed the attention of those present.

Before The Melvins graced the stage, Kris and Todd Thompson, San Diego residents, shared their excitement and anticipation.

Hailing originally from Montesano, Washington, just like The Melvins, the couple has a deep-rooted connection with the band.

“We’ve been long-time supporters and have seen The Melvins play many times,” Todd said.

“Every show is different; the band always manages to surprise us,” Kris added.

The Thompsons were also struck by the diverse age range in the audience.

“It’s great to see such a mixed crowd; it wasn’t something we expected,” Kris said.

Both agreed that while they have many favorites, “Houdini,” the 1993 essential album, holds a special place in their hearts.

As the Melvins stepped into the spotlight, anticipation rippled through the eager audience.

Buzz Osborne held command on the right side of the stage, while Steven Shane McDonald, stationed to the left, provided potent bass rhythms, enhancing the Melvins’ distinct musical voyage. Their legendary grunge and sludge tones filled the venue.

Mr. Phylzzz opened the show for Boris and The Melvins on their “Twins of Evil” Tour. (Ethan Karlin)

Unfortunately, Dale Crover’s unmistakable drumming was absent due to his surgery recovery. In his stead, Coady Scott Willis, known for his contributions to the Murder City Devils, Big Business and High On Fire, stepped in, ensuring the beats remained robust and engaging.

Fans appreciated in the evening’s meticulously crafted setlist, which spanned from classic tracks on the “Bullhead” album, such as “Ligature,” “Your Blessened,” “It’s Shoved” and “Anaconda,” to iconic hits like “Honey Bucket” from the “Houdini” album and “Revolve” from the “Stoner Witch” album.

With the final notes of “Boris,” the venue was awash with energy, marking a fitting conclusion to the Melvins’ electrifying performance.

As Boris materialized amidst the fog, the crowd’s excitement was tangible.

Amplifying Boris’s sonic tapestry, Takeshi’s distinct aura was complemented by his unique First Act double-necked bass and guitar, echoing eighties flair. Accompanied by Atsuo’s commanding presence on the drums and Wata’s masterful lead guitar, the trio makeup Boris’s expansive sound.

Launching with vigor, Boris started the set with the compelling “Heavy Friends” and they went on to play the entirety of their esteemed 2002 album, “Heavy Rocks.”

Their drive escalated as tracks like “Korosu” and “Dyna-Soar” unfolded, wrapping listeners in a wave of nostalgia and energy.

The evening’s set list highlighted their musical breadth, shifting from the dreamy tones of “Wareruraido” to the fervor of “Death Valley,” peaking with “1970.”

With the encore, Boris captivated with an unexpected twist: a charged up cover of the Melvins’ “Boris,” a tribute to the very song that inspired their name, which left the audience mesmerized.

For updates on the Melvins and Boris, follow @melvinsdotcom and @borisdronevil on Instagram; for House of Blues San Diego shows, follow @hobsandiego.