Les Claypool has always had a unique approach to the presentation and scale of his musical tours. His performance at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky on June 10 ranks among his very best in the Cincinnati area. Reforming Primus this summer, Claypool gave the tri state area an opportunity to experience the Claypool effect before he danced with the same set up at Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee one night later. Offering up a healthy slab of his album, Of Fungi and Foe, Claypool substituted Sam Bass’ Cello strings for an electric guitar, and chose to fill out the rest of the quartet with the rhythm unit of Mike Dillon on percussion and Paulo Baldi on drums. It was far reaching and daring for the veteran mask wearing bassist, and “Rumble of the Diesel” had many in the crowd pogo bouncing to the band’s intense party grooves. Heavy improvisational swing was incorporated into the basic notes of “Amanitas” from Of Fungi and Foe. “David Makalaster 1” led into a bruising “Southbound Pachyderm,” before returning to the wildly humorous take on “Red State Girl.” The drum solo section left the Madison’s patrons in awe as a monkey masked Claypool played dramatically with the Whamola, a single upright bass stick. “Booneville Stomp” again visited Claypool to Of Fungi and Foe, and the Les Claypool group left the stage to an enormous ovation and the closing strains of “D’s Diner.” Claypool teased the audience with the possibility of a Parliament/ Funkadelic number before slamming into a boisterous cover of Rush’s “The Spirit of Radio,” replete with Sam Bass’ cello replicating Alex Lifeson’s electric guitar leads for the encore. Outrageous and jam filled, Les Claypool’s set at the Madison Theater had many wanting to travel down to Bonnaroo just to relive his radical funk rock stew.
Setlist: Rumble of the Diesel, Amanitas, David Makalaster 1- Southbound Pachyderm-David Makalster 1, Red State Girl, Precipitation, Drums, Drums & Whamola Jam, Booneville Stomp, Riddles Are Abound Tonight, D’s Diner Encore: The Spirit of Radio
(Photo is from Spring Hookahville 2009)