Fans grieved when Les Claypool put his funk-metal band Primus
on ice, after he declared that he had reached an aesthetic dead end. It seems the bass-wrangling frontman has worked himself out of his creative despondency. Claypool's band of collaborators, including original Primus guitarist Todd Huth, Critters Buggin'
saxophonist Skerik, Rat Dog's Jay Lane and Jeff Chimenti, Pearl Jam
's skinbeater Jack Irons, and newcomer Eenor, turn out 70 minutes of live alchemy with the sum so much greater than its seemingly disparate parts. The rag-tag band take obscure diamonds in the rough and transform them into extended, edgy soundscapes that tickle the ears and intrigue the mind. They breathe new spectral light into King Crimson
's "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and Pink Floyd
's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" while striking such a heady funk groove in "Girls for Single Men" and "Riddles Are Abound Tonight," that you'd swear Bootsy Collins
was on board. Just when you think you're beginning to understand where this eccentric outfit is headed, they switch gears and you find yourself on an island paradise swaying with the palm trees on the surf-o-delic "Hendershot." Live Frogs
is jam rock of the first order. --Jaan Uhelszki