Guillermo Prieto/
Buzz Osborne of the Melvins. Credit: Guillermo Prieto/

I’ve seen Buzz Osborne several times at Pappy and Harriet’s; last time, he performed his one-man King Buzzo show, which highlighted his crazy charisma as he strolled around the stage with an acoustic guitar.

Last Wednesday, gloom-metal fans got to see Buzz with the Melvins—complete with two drummers, Dale Crover and Coady Willis, who provided the sonic freight train. Jared Warren was on bass, showing off a black eye he said was courtesy of a mugging. He claimed he fought off a dozen or so robbers who said, “Give me all your money.”

The sonic drenching that smashed fans rivaled any sound-bath chamber designed by aliens from Venus in the nearby town of Landers

Thank God for foam earplugs. I felt my kidneys move a little with the roar from Osborne’s guitar—but I have two, and that helps in these sweet situations. I was thankful for the lack of moshing, which was supplanted by cranium-crushing head sways that managed to keep everyone upright.

The show was sold out, and fans were crammed in, feeling the raw boom by these skillful rockers. The highlight for me was the song “The Water Glass,” which showcased the superb cadence of the drummers, while Buzz—wearing a druid smock—led the band like a wild wizard: “Here we go, every day, all the way, in the grove, on the move, hoo hoo hah hah.” Osborne asked his band for a restart of the song, saying: “I totally messed it up.” A mistake was not evident to me, nor do I suspect anybody in the audience noticed any goof-ups. But I defer to King Buzzo and his 30 years of performing experience.

Guillermo Prieto is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine. That also happens to be the location of his first concert—which cemented his love of live music. A desert dweller for a quarter-century,...