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Published: 2011/01/03

Primus, Claypool, Primus for New Year’s

Les Claypool celebrated New Year’s with Primus shows at Oakland, CA’s Fox Theatre on December 30 and 31. Primus’ December 30 show featured an opening set by The Residents while the group’s December 31 show featured Les Claypool’s Fancy Brigade and The Dead Kenny G’s. These shows marked the 20th consecutive year Claypool has performed on New Year’s Eve.

“Twenty years… wow, time flies when you’re having fudge,” Claypool said in a statement. “In 2000 I told myself, “I’m done with these New Year’s Eve shows. They’re in the middle of the holidays, all my relatives are out and I have to rehearse up a new theme every year; it’s a pain in my ass.” Then Michael Bailey offered me a solo show at the Fillmore for the 2000-2001 New Year’s Eve. So I said, “Ok”, thus spawning another decade of New Year’s Extravaganza’s. Now we are looking at the 2010-2011 show which will be my 20th in a row. (We actually played the Night Break club in San Francisco in 1988 on NYE but then skipped the next year.) For this we will need to blow it out and pull all the stops. Two nights at the Fox should do it and playing multiple sets with Primus and my band of all-stars (The Fancy Brigade) coupled with a dream bill of mine, which is being paired with The Residents, should just about do it. Be prepared to be dazzled, amazed and surprised beyond comprehension.”

Primus’ December 30 show featured a complete performance of the band’s classic 1991 album Sailing the Seas of Cheese. After running through the album, the members of Primus returned to the stage for the encore of the new original Primus song “The Last Salmon Man” and “Harold of the Rocks.” On New Year’s Eve, Claypool performed with a unique version of his Fancy Brigade featuring Primus drummer Jay Lane, longtime Claypool band percussionist Mike Dillon and cellist Sam Bass. Claypool ran through several songs from his solo canon and brought out Skerik for much of his set, beginning with “Up on the Roof.” Soon after, Bryan Kehoe joined in on “Hendershot” while Gabby La La emerged for “Cosmic Highway.” All of the evening’s guests returned for a set-closing “Dee’s Diner.”

Claypool performed the show’s midnight set with Primus. The show had a Christmas theme with the stage decorated with snow and elves. As midnight hit, the band brought out its longtime friend Bob Cock for a version of “Frosty the Snowman.” The song then led into a cover the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The band also nodded to the future with a repeat performance of its new song “The Last Salmon Man.”

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