It’s April 8, 2015, and what Minnesotans consider nice at a balmy forty-three degrees. Primus is playing the State Theater in Minneapolis, bringing their eclectic version of the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack with them. If this doesn’t pull in a crowd similar to that of The Grateful Dead mixed with Pink Floyd in their hay days, nothing will.
The show begins with the first of two sets, including “Winona’s Got Herself a Big Brown Beaver” among others tunes that get under the skin of the audience, leading to an almost pattern of swaying, smoking, and mumbling of lyrics. The crowd is heavily diversified, which makes it all the more curious and fun. The numerous shrieks of “Primus sucks!”can be heard throughout the set.
The second set, focusing entirely on the “Primus and the Chocolate Factory” album. The album imagines the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film soundtrack in Primus’ unique style, bringing a dark edge to their sound. The stage is set up beautifully, really bringing the album to life with elaborate stage props, colorful lighting, and footage from the 1971 film. Two nearly eight foot tall dancing Oompa Loompas are revealed to dance to their respective songs. It’s hard not to feel like a little kid again, both fascinated and somewhat terrified by this set, as the majority of the music is played by Les Claypool on a stand up bass, giving what normally sounds like such childlike revelry such a devilish and frightening feel.
The overall feel of this show is some kind of trippy, Lynchian style dream, one where you’re just along for the ride. Best to tread carefully on this tour, as it is not for everyone, regardless of the Willy Wonka nostalgia.