A psychedelic odyssey: Primus’s “The Desaturating Seven” at the Tabernacle


“The Dream” rainbows before “The Storm”.
Photo By Andrew Becker

By Andrew Becker
The Carolinian

In a night of suspicious-smelling smoke, color-eating goblins, and mosh pits, Primus returned to a favorite southern haunt of mine, the Tabernacle in Atlanta for another leg of their Ambushing the Storm Tour.

The band played at the Tabernacle in Atlanta Thursday in support of their latest album, “The Desaturating Seven”. The sold-out show contained nothing but high energy, novelty, and camaraderie, which was much appreciated by Primus front man, Les Claypool, who noted the warm receptions that the band always receives when playing there.

And it’s true, there’s really nothing like Primus at the Tabernacle.

Fans costumed as garden gnomes, goths wearing pig faces, old man masks and top hats, middle-aged crust punks in dirty, patched-denim; stoners and tweekers in tie-dyes and drugrugs, stumbling drunks on key bumps, metalheads and hippies, young teenagers and their frightened parents, all emerged from under their rocks and out of dimly-lit basements to descend for a night of debauchery and noise.

The first set ran through like a typical Primus show. Hits like “Too Many Puppies” and “Those Damn Blue-Collared Tweekers” were inevitable. Though I was surprised to hear a deeper cut with “Welcome to This World”, a favorite song I had yet to hear performed live.

The second set was something entirely different, though. After a brief intermission the band returned, robed and horned and ready to play the new album in its entirety, with the artwork behind them.

“The Desaturating Seven” continues Primus’s foray into dark and twisted renditions of children’s literature. The preceding album explored the music from the film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, based on the Roald Dahl story of the same name. The new album adapts Ul de Rico’s 1978 children’s book “The Rainbow Goblins”.

Always one to defy traditional expectations with their irreverent and satirical approach to music, “The Desaturating Seven” marks a slight shift from Primus’s heavier albums and explores the sounds found in the progressive rock albums of the 1970s. Reverberations of bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, and Rush abound throughout the album.

These elements coalesce and tell the story centered around a group of goblins who would seek to selfishly destroy the world by feeding on the colors of nature. Nature, however, has other plans for these ne’er-do-wells. Clearly, there’s political and environmental interpretations to consider with this, or with any other Primus album, a band known for their off-kilter political and cultural concerns (let us not forget that Primus wrote the theme song for the TV show, “South Park”). But whether “The Scheme” of “Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, [and] Violet” resembles any current political agenda or not is entirely up to you.

Because, in the end, only one thing’s for certain: PRIMUS SUCKS!