Skip to main content

21st July 2015

Live: Primus

Indulging Les Claypool’s obsession for everything Wonka, Primus perform a 3-hour set including a full rendition of the Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack

June 24th



Covering such a soundtrack in its entirety isn’t something you would normally expect from a metal band, but given Les Claypool’s particular brand of eccentricity, this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. This three-show tour (marking Primus’s first UK tour consisting of all three original members) comprised of a regular 1-hour set, followed by a stark change of scenery: when the curtains of the Apollo opened for the second time, the band members were accompanied by a load of props, a screen playing snippets from the 1971 movie – and most importantly, two very charming (if a little creepy) Oompa-Loompas.

The standard set was, at least as far as a band like Primus goes, pretty standard. The band played ten songs, and played them well, interspersing them with some fantastic improvised bass solos, as well as Les Claypool’s trademark goofiness.

Primus’s latest album, Primus & The Chocolate Factory with Fungi Ensemble unsurprisingly saw them reinterpret the film’s soundtrack. The album is a fun listen, but those familiar with the band’s sound will find no surprises in it, as it does little more than apply the Primus formula to those songs. Although in terms of sound it did not deviate so much from the album, The Willie Wonka set was really quite a spectacle: it was clear that a lot of effort went into the presentation, making for a really enjoyable and immersive show.

Writing this review, curiosity prevailed and I ended up eating their “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver” chocolate bar, purchased at the show. It’s the most intense chocolate bar I’ve ever tasted: it comprises the darkest of dark chocolate, mixed with roasted espresso beans. I don’t think it was meant to be consumed (rather, kept as a souvenir), but it certainly made for an interesting experience. All in all, the night was surprisingly predictable for any fan of Primus, partly in that it was great fun. It sucked.

More Coverage

Faye Webster live in Manchester: Artistic vulnerability in the face of the public eye

Atlanta singer-songwriter Faye Webster merged her innovative instrumentals with R&B and indie influences at an ambient gig at the Albert Hall

The Wedding Present live in Manchester: Northern national treasures return to revive 1994 LP Watusi

In 2024, The Wedding Present returned to Manchester to play their 1994 album Watusi in full to a rapturous response

Been Stellar ‘Scream From New York, NY’: An outstanding debut from Dirty Hit’s latest protégés

Dirty Hit’s newest prospect Been Stellar make their musical debut with the Dan Carey produced ‘Scream From New York, NY’

The Girls Aloud Show: A touching return from a legendary girl group

After over ten years away from the stage, pop sensation Girls Aloud bring their reunion tour to Manchester’s AO Arena