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October 29, 2012

Primus adds 3D to its strange live experience

INDIANAPOLIS — Given the resurgence and advances in 3D technology, it was only a matter of time before someone would incorporate it into the concert setting.

Who better to do that than the cartoonish rock band Primus? The Bay Area trio is currently on a 3D tour that stopped Saturday at the Murat Theatre.

It proved a nice companion to Primus' liquid funk-rock. Eye-popping visuals appropriate to specific songs played out over the course of the two-hour show. Patriotic iconography awash in kaleidoscopic colors bled out over the audience during a psychedelic jam-out of "American Life." The jaunty thump of "Lee Van Cleef" featured, you guessed it, snippets of the famous Spaghetti Western actor.

Held over from last year's tour, which also came to the Murat, were two giant inflatable astronaut uniforms that bookended the stage. A man's face was projected on both helmets throughout - another perfect symbol of Primus' hard-edged whimsy.

The trio's reputation has always rested on Les Claypool's virtuosic bass playing and nasally voice. As always he didn't disappoint, though he wasn't as animated on-stage as in the past. He brought out a standup bass and played it with a bow for a few songs in the second set, including the seafaring "Hellbound 17 1/2" and the spectral "Jilly's on Smack" from last year's "Green Naugahyde" album.

That release was well represented in the set list, along with Primus' 1990 debut full-length "Frizzle Fry." "Harold of the Rocks" got the extended treatment to close out the first set while the "moldy nugget" "Mr. Knowitall" graced the second in all its carnival-esque glory.

In between the sets old black-and-white "Popeye" cartoons were screened, furthering the whole strange experience. The 3D may not be "Avatar" good, but don't be surprised if it becomes a staple of the Primus live experience.

wade.coggeshall@flyergroup.com

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