On a serene September 14th evening, Melvins unassumingly took the stage at Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola, FL. The act had performed three days earlier in Houston, entertaining a city recently ravaged by the effects of a hurricane.  The Melvins were also booked to play Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort. Lauderdale, and Orlando, all cities that had felt the effects of an all-together different hurricane. On this particular night, the group convened in front of a small but happy crowd on the corner of Palafox and Garden streets in downtown Pensacola.

The show kicked off with another three-piece known as Spotlights, consisting of a married couple in vocalist/guitarist Mario Quintero and bassist/vocalist Sarah Quintero, from Brooklyn. Musically, there’s a melding of soothing ambiance and sludge bulk going on there. Imagine something that could lull audiences to sleep yet with more than enough pounding to keep them awake and their minds conscious. That’s what a listener experiences with Spotlights.

The patron saints of Grunge next appeared with a set list including “Anaconda” from
1991’s Bullhead LP and a cover of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles. A few
songs from July 2017’s double album, A Walk With Love & Death, were also squeezed in.  Spotlights joined the Melvins on stage for a combined jam near the end of the night.

What someone looks like should not matter as much as it does in the music
business, however, Melvins’ front-man Buzz Osborne’s physical appearance sends
an important message to onlookers.  Osborne performed in a wizard’s cloak that covered his entire body, shoulders to shins. A graying ‘fro adorns his head that sways back and forth in time with furious rhythm atop energetic limbs that are as nimble as some 20-something rockers.  This aesthetic lets others know that he’s not concerned with vocal opinions about mid-life crisis. Osborne still goes out and rocks no matter what the critics may say, the same way he’s done for over 30 years. Seeing this is a reminder that a high quality of life is attainable in later years and that it’s possible to actually have fun at that age. The same can be said for Melvins’ veteran drummer Dale Crover who just released his first solo album last month before his 50th birthday in October.

Seeing the Melvins is a joyous experience for all, even after a bad day or a disastrous
event. The bands, the courteous staff, together with the crowd proved this true. And the nature of its authenticity hangs on the decision to not take life so seriously.

Tyler Spivey