Live: Bass in the Place. Primus, Royal Albert Hall.

The conjoining of the genres 'funk' and 'metal', in this era of pedantic compartmentalisation, is a highly dubious grey area probably best avoided even before Anthony Kiedis' fornication-fixated Californians put paid to any credibility within the depths of that already murky amalgam. Thus for fellow West Coasters Primus – perhaps most famed for the penning of the South Park theme toon – to attempt to affix the ears of the immature and underage to their ageing back catalogue is another pretty tricky one. That Les Claypool et al. thunder through twenty-odd tracks with youthful exuberance and humour to better the blunt obscenities of Trey Parker's odious conception however certainly aids in their mission seemingly impossible.

And so too, quite unforeseeably, does the Royal Albert Hall: it's an odd yet strangely apt fit for these cult metal stalwarts with their sound particularly well rounded in this annular expanse. Opening with the ominous slap bass onslaught of To Defy the Laws of Tradition, Claypool stamps all over a veritable armada of pedals as the excessively haired mass threaten to fall through the floor, to cascade down toward Parker's fictional Inferno inhabited by Sadam Hussain and that sexually perplexed Satan. As dreadlocks writhe atop the pallid bodies of those surfing wave upon wave of adoration-cum-mutilation (read on), it's as though the putrid essence of Reading Festival '91 were unleashed on this most splendid of scenarios. And although Claypool's certainly seen it all before he's here not necessarily to know, as he opts to spend much of the show watching the superb gonzo visuals concerning rudimentary UFOs and overcrowded visualisations of nonexistent futures in perpendicular universes that flicker behind him. They represent a superlative interpretation of the erratic avant-garde stylings of a lost international treasure, and add a sense of multimedia splendour to the show.

Periodically Primus lose themselves in the groggiest of prog – another universally despised and derided genre – as on an extensive strut through Prelude to a Crawl although it's all too easy to instantaneously forgive them anything, inclusive of evident influence on Durst's abhorrent Limp Bizkit. Of course the twitchy grunge of Moron TV could right myriad wrongs and it's during this smeary clatter that Claypool imperiously affirms: "Primus playing the Royal Albert Hall for the second time in a row! That's pretty fuckin' awesome from my perspective! Life's pretty sweet for old faithful right now." Having run through Sailing the Seas of Cheese and Green Naughahyde the preceding eve right here right then, tonight is conversely a gallivanting rifle through the entire discography that only periodically turns sour. There must be something in the steroids for as bodies continue to lap up against the barrier a mere few metres before the omnipotent triumvirate, those to have been educated in impressively surfing a sea of skulls at Brixton's infamous Academy in eras now distant are greeted with primordial vitriol and it's a wonder there's anyone left to scrape up off the floor in tonight's second set. For although the first – concluded with a rapturous take on Over the Electric Grapevine – feels a little like the mere support act as it gradually blends into one mushy wash, with the atmosphere most certainly already warm we're categorically well readied.

There's then the so-called 'Primus Intermission' to lend an almost carnivalesque ambience to proceedings as they slump offstage without even so much as uttering a word nor flinging forth some unintelligible gesticulation. Popeye is then popped on (its episodic nauticalia coinciding with the Fisherman's Chronicles scattered throughout the discography, the first instalment of which is tonight aired) as if to entertain impatient minors. It becomes a little irksome at such impudent volume after eight editions, irate whooping greeting the salacious hula-hula of a scantily clad Betty Boop. Equivalent enthusiasm is articulated as our spinach-guzzling protagonist rescues his beloved Olive Oyl from certain demise on ringing railway track and as these cheers reach a heady degree of deafening, Primus reemerge. 

Jilly's On Smack invokes inebriated delirium from the first phased gurgle of six string derangement, whilst the surreal blues metal of Eyes of the Squirrel lulls into a state of fuzzy insecurity. However sandwiched between these two instances are moments of unadulterated, nigh on unfeasible pandemonium and quite appositely these are ignited by Fisticuffs. Punctuated by a radical overhaul of The Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows, it's already precisely what the vexed security brigade are after as trousers are ripped from hips and heels tumble over heads down darkened stairwells, indignation perfuming the air. It's during a rambunctious Southbound Pachyderm though that all hell on earth breaks loose as Claypool's iconic uniting of trilby and circular rims is ruptured, the stage invaded and hat toppled from head. Clutching to the thing whilst being beaten to a presumed pulp when out of sight yet unfortunately far from out of mind on the flooring below, bellows of "Give back the hat" gurgle sonorously within Albert's sizeable abdomen.

Claypool departs, continuing to thrum out his unforgettable, if minimally noted motif only to return adorned in latex swine masking for the segueing menace provided by Mr. Krinkle. Unperturbed, he eventually spits a flicker of irritation: "It's been good. Apart from that shithead who came up here, stole my hat and stamped it out. I don't come round and take some dick outta his mouth when he's doing his job", Claypool disconcertingly jests. Thus the crafty peculiarity of Popeye begins to apply to reality, the evening shattered into fragmented bits of subplot which largely refer back to the wrath traditionally reserved for Sonisphere (R.I.P.). However feuding aside, Primus tonight reinstate the rep as prime hawkers of the unfathomably outré, a sensational Lee Van Cleef exhibiting Claypool's pioneering manifestation of the bass guitar's multi-faceted nature; of its capacitive extension beyond purely guttural undercurrents. Thursday's the new Saturday and the ring of the Royal Albert Hall's quite alright for fighting.