Melvins and the Spotlights Ignite the Observatory

Article & Photos by Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

It is amazing to me how long a band can last in the music scene. Most of the groups that I was growing up on have been around since the 1960s and 1970s. The Who, the Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith are only some of the few I was educated in, and they are still together, touring the world and creating new music. There is one band that has been around for over 34 years, and can still put on one hell of a show. I am, of course, talking about the Melvins, the band from Washington that helped develop grunge and sludge metal. They are without a doubt one of the most eclectic rock bands out there, and the fans love them to this day. They are touring with another band of eclectic proportions called the Spotlights. The Observatory in Santa Ana, Calif., played host, and all in attendance had their minds opened to both bands’ music on July 6th.

The Spotlights first took to the stage, ready to show what they represent. Their music has been dubbed “dreamsludge.” To me, it is like a combination of sludge metal, progressive, and alternative rock. With songs like “Learn to Breathe,” “Box of Talking Heads,” and “What Is This,” I was taken to a dream world, where it was easy to lose myself in their sound. The band consists of Sarah and Mario Quintero on bass and guitar/vocals respectively, and drummer Chris Enriquez. Mario has a mid-tempo range in his vocals which give the songs eminence. He pulls triple duty by not only singing lead and playing guitar, but he also does the synthesizer on the side. Sarah and Enriquez both did a marvelous job lacing together a supreme rhythm section. The Spotlights were ecliptic enough to capture my attention.

Full Spotlights Slideshow Below:

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After the Spotlights, King Buzz Osbourne came out his band of misfits, hair all crazy looking. The Melvins got things started with the Flipper cover, “Sacrifice.” Osbourne bore out his soul into his guitar as well as his singing. I never knew just how good Dale Crover was on the drums, he had such flexibility with the snares and cymbals. Both he and Osbourne started the band back in the 1980s, and they still play like they are still high school kids. Bassist Steve McDonald wailed on the bass guitar like a bad boy. Promoting the new album, A Walk with Love and Death, the Melvins entertained the crowd with some old school hardcore punk and doom metal. From “Euthanasia” to “Hung Bunny,” the fans created a small mosh pit and acted like teenagers. They did not stop to talk, just let the music do all the work. They ended things with their classic tune “Roman Dog Bird.”

Full Melvins Slideshow Below:

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I have to say, the weird have never sounded so good. I got to check a band that helped solidify the grunge sound, and a group that was full of fantasy. The Spotlights were the perfect band to open for the Melvins, and look forward to seeing what other tricks they have up their sleeves. After 34 years, the Melvins can still ignite a show and play some kick ass rock ‘n’ roll. From what Osbourne and Crover told me in our interview, there is no end in sight for these guys. As long as they keep rocking as only they know how, retirement is out of the question. To the Melvins and the Spotlights, I salute you. Horns up!!!

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