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Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Photo By Ryan Siverson

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13
With Melvins, Honky, Negative Approach, Gay Witch Abortion, Mudhoney, Hepa/Titus, and Die Kreuzen
Grumpy's Downtown, Minneapolis
July 20, 2013

Part way through Mudhoney's incendiary early evening set at Bash 13 on Saturday, they broke into their new underachievement anthem, "I Like It Small." That song perfectly sums up the longstanding philosophy of both Amphetamine Reptile Records as well as the litany of unassuming but ass-kicking bands signed to the label over the past 27 years. It would have served as the perfect song to start a soundtrack or Spotify playlist encapsulating the musical mayhem of Bash 13 -- if AmRep actually gave a shit about soundtracks or Spotify playlists.

And thankfully, the label and the acts associated with AmRep over the years have seen through the bullshit that plagues much of modern music, and have distilled their formula down to -- play great music and everything else will take care of itself. And on a sunny summer Saturday at Grumpy's downtown, the music brought everyone together for the day, and it was what ultimately ruled the entire raucous event.

See Also:
Slideshow: Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13
Cover Story: Under the influence of Amphetamine Reptile
15 essential Amphetamine Reptile releases


Melvins launched the festivities in grand fashion, taking the stage to the hazy sounds of Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" before launching into their breathless but all-too-brief set. The band was joined by Butthole Surfers' bassist Jeff Pinkus, who was filling in for Jared Warren who was out on paternity leave awaiting the birth of his new child. And Pinkus added a grimy, pulsing undercurrent to Melvins' sludgy sound, with the double-drum attack of Dale Crover and Coady Willis providing a fitful rhythm that kept up with Buzz Osbourne's crunchy guitar riffs.

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Photo By Ryan Siverson

Melvins' set started and ended with gems from their 1993 classic, Houdini, with "Hag Me" kicking off the set tempestuously, while an extended, blistering version of "Night Goat" closing the performance down thunderously. The one-two punch of "The War On Wisdom" and "We Are Doomed" from the Bulls & The Bees EP also proved to be clear standouts of the set, despite the PA cutting out for a brief minute or two. The well-paced set churned on with a fiery run through of "Sweet Willy Rollbar" from Stoner Witch, and a simmering take on "A Growing Disgust" from their recent record, Freak Puke.

But it was a powerful, potent version of "Let It All Be" which really lit the fuse of the performance, with Pinkus' funky low end giving the song an ominous core while Buzz's filthy guitar riffs and threatening vocals set the song on fire. An untamed, experimental run through of Bullhead's "Your Blessened" set the stage for a wild take on "Night Goat," which the band expanded on before Buzz ceded the stage to Pinkus' band, Honky, with both Dale and Jared sticking around to play drums for the first song in their set.

Honky seemed to revel in the moment, playing to a decidedly unpretentious crowd filled with dedicated AmRep disciples who were there to have a good time. And Honky's high-spirited, fun-fueled music certainly added to the festive nature of the day. Crover played drums for Honky's entire set, which drew mainly from their combustible recent record, the awesomely titled 421, with Pinkus and guitarist Bobby Ed Landgraf trading vocal duties seamlessly during their jocular numbers. The group even playfully apologized to the females in the crowd before dedicating "Just A Man" to all the dudes in the audience.

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Photos By Ryan Siverson

Honky's enjoyable set went by in a flash, but the wait for Negative Approach proved to be a long one. Though, considering the Detroit punk band was making their Minneapolis debut despite being around since the '80s, their fans could wait a few extra minutes. But as soon as the hardcore quartet hit the stage, the whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their high-octane punk aggression.

Their combative, hostile songs came in rapid-fire succession, as frontman John Brannon gazed menacingly at the crowd while screaming his lyrics atop the mayhem his band were generating behind him. Negative Approach certainly gave Bash 13 a jolt in the hot, mid-afternoon sun, giving their area fans the type of feral live performance they've been waiting for.

Gay Witch Abortion were the lone local band on the Bash 13 bill, and singer/guitarist Jesse Bottomley and drummer Shawn Walker made the most of their coveted mid-day slot amidst all of these classic, noise-rock stalwarts. It did take a while for the band to hit their stride, though, but once they settled in their set really took off. Their fast-paced set focused mainly on material from their recent album, Opporntunistic Smokescreen Behavior, with a brazen new song thrown into the mix as well. GWA continue to boldly stand alone as far as local bands go, generating a fierce but focused type of metal that commands your attention while melting your face.

 

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Photo By Ryan Siverson

The crowd, which filled most of Grumpy's parking lot from the moment Melvins took the stage, truly swelled by the time Mudhoney took the stage at 6 p.m. The Seattle grunge veterans were making their first Minneapolis appearance in over a decade, and the dynamic quartet certainly made the most of it, delivering a knockout set that was far and away the best of the day. The feisty set was a fluid blend of stone-cold classics and defiant new material (from their recently released Sub Pop effort, Vanishing Point), with "Slipping Away" and "I Don't Remember You" coming alongside slacker anthems like "You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)," "Suck You Dry," and "Touch Me I'm Sick" all delivered with the same snide attitude that made them compelling back in the day, with Mark Arm, Steve Turner, Dan Peters, and Guy Maddison not showing any signs of rust nor any hints of slowing down any time soon.

The crowd, which by this point had become well-lubricated in the early evening sun, clearly got into the restless quality of Mudhoney's outsider jams, with Arm urging them on with his lyrics of unrest. The band were clearly enjoying themselves as well, playfully trying to mess each other up at the start of the songs, with Arm even adjusting one of Turner's troublesome pedals during a scorching solo. The set flew by, with Arm not wasting any time between songs other than to mutter a quick word of thanks before they got back to business.

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Photo By Ryan Siverson

That rapid pacing led the band to finish up a little early, and leave the stage ever so briefly before returning, claiming that they had more time than they thought. And the explosive set of songs they returned with made everyone thankful they came back, as "Here Comes Sickness," "In 'n Out Of Grace," and a combative cover of the Dicks' "Hate The Police" ended the triumphant set with a blast of discordant brilliance. Hopefully, Mudhoney don't keep us all waiting another decade for the chance to see them play again.

Kevin Rutmanis' band Hepa/Titus kept the energy level of Bash 13 running hot, but it wasn't until his former Cows bandmate Shannon Selberg joined the fray before their set turned memorable. Selberg took to the stage dressed like a twisted clergyman, threatening to unzip his fly and show the crowd his goods -- but, rather than having a Jim Morrison incident on our hands, it turned out to be just a banana, which Shannon peeled and ate suggestively as the band generated some gritty riffs behind him. Rutmanis and Selberg still share that creative spark that ultimately made Cows such a compelling band, and it was great to see them sharing the stage and making music together once again.

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Photos By Ryan Siverson

After more than seven hours of standing in a sun-baked parking lot, most of the crowd seemed a bit drained by the time Milwaukee's Die Kreuzen made their first local appearance in over twenty years. But the recently reunited alt quartet still managed to liven things up for those who stuck around, ending the festivities on a decidedly high note as night settled over the city. Now we're all just waiting for AmRep to announce their next party.

Amphetamine Reptile's Bash 13 at Grumpy's, 7/20/13
Photo By Ryan Siverson

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I was most excited about seeing Mudhoney again. While touring the U of M in 1991, I asked my tour guide where people go for live music in Minneapolis. He of course directed me to First Avenue, where Mudhoney were playing that night (along with Poster Children and Gas Huffer). That was my first ever show at First Ave, and I committed to the U of M the next day -- and my long love affair with Minneapolis (and Mudhoney) officially began.

The Crowd: It was refreshing to see so many old friends in the audience, as well as the utter lack of pretension by everyone in attendance. The no-bullshit attitude of AmRep extends to their fans as well.

Overheard In The Crowd: "I gave birth listening to the Melvins" -- Hopefully, not while at Bash 13, though.

Random Notebook Dump: The E-cig revolution was certainly in full effect at Bash 13, so much so that I expected to see Stephen Dorff show up at some point.


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