Archived Arts & Entertainment

Primus gets 'Closer to the Heart' of Rush

Les Claypool performs with Primus at the Harrah's Cherokee Center in Asheville Aug. 28. Les Claypool performs with Primus at the Harrah's Cherokee Center in Asheville Aug. 28. Jeffrey Delannoy

A few weeks ago I photographed Primus doing a tribute to Rush playing the entire "A Farewell to Kings" album. Anyone who knows Rush, knows that this is a huge undertaking.

I've never been much of a Primus fan but I have the utmost respect for their musicianship, and if any band were to attempt to perform Rush, this is the band who you would think could possibly pull it off. If you know the album, the song that was going to be the most critical to pull off was going to be "Closer to the Heart". Surprisingly, although sung in a lower octave Les Claypool pulled it off completely. Larry Lalonde did a fantastic job playing the Alex Lifeson parts that are so underrated in Rush, and although it would have been nice to see Tim Alexander behind his wall of drums, he did a great job emulating Neil Peart, the GOD of Mathrock drumming.

Claypool went on to tell some intimate stories about opening for Rush way back in the day, and how they would watch other bands go out to open for Rush and get obliterated in front of the crowd and that when Primus opened for them, they held their own, and eventually became close friends with the band over the years, thus leading to the tribute that they were playing.

Watching this show was so close to Rush, that it caused me to go into a Rush deep dive for two days following the performance. Most impressive, was Claypool pulling off the keyboard parts and bass simultaneously à la Geddy Lee and pulling out a fantastic Rickenbacker double bass, the likes of which I've never seen, an absolutely gorgeous instrument. The lighting was typical Primus, with a huge video screen behind the band which is not a friend to photographers, but I managed to get a few good shots. Still, It was great to be back in the pit again after almost 2 years!

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