Billy Strings appears to have made himself good and comfortable at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Fresh off of his own weekend Ryman run, which featured Les Claypool among its an impressive cast of characters, Billy stuck around on Monday to return the favor and join Primus for a sit-in at the Mother Church.
Midway through Primus’s first set, following a performance of the group’s new 11-minute epic “Conspiranoia“, Claypool welcomed Strings, who he introduced as “a man who impressed me with a fishing rod.” Billy seems to have impressed him well beyond that, as the two musicians have been seen hobnobbing with Bob Weir at Sweetwater Music Hall and even appeared together on Claypool and Eugene Hütz‘s guest-filled single, “Zelensky: The Man With The Iron Balls“.
“You ever been to this place before?” Claypool asked as Strings sauntered onstage.
“Son, I got the presidential suite upstairs!” Billy retorted.
Billy took the stage armed with an electric guitar, prompting Claypool to ask, “Is this gonna be like when Dylan went electric?” before launching into “Over the Falls”, the same Primus song Billy had debuted with his band the night prior on that same stage.
Claypool used the intro to pontificate at length on a variety of subjects, including the little-known fact that “Primus” spelled sideways in Latin is actually “‘bluegrass.’ That’s where the term came from.” Strings, guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde, and drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander vamped on blues licks for background noise all the while before Claypool eventually kicked into the Brown Album cut.
With all of the introductions out of the way, the band rolled straight into “Lee Van Cleef” next. Billy led the path as he eeked out bouncy riffs that inspired Claypool to jig on over. With Ler handling the rhythm, Strings even manned the low-end notes, prompting Les himself ask, “who needs bass?”
Watch Billy Strings sit in with Primus on “Over The Falls” and “Lee Van Cleef” at the Ryman in the fan-shot videos below.
Primus, Billy Strings – Banter, “Over The Falls” – 5/9/22
[Video: Cole Rector]
Primus, Billy Strings – “Lee Van Cleef” – 5/9/22
[Video: P L]
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Setlist: Primus | Ryman Auditorium | Nashville, TN | 5/9/22
Set One: Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers, Last Salmon Man, Frizzle Fry, Conspiranoia, Over the Falls , Lee Van Cleef , Professor Nutbutter’s House of Treats, Welcome to This World, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver
Set Two: A Farewell to Kings (Rush), Xanadu (Rush), Closer to the Heart (Rush), Cinderella Man (Rush), Madrigal (Rush), Cygnus X-1, Book I: The Voyage (Rush)
Encore: Here Come the Bastards , Follow the Fool, Groundhog’s Day
 w/ Billy Strings
 w/ Passage to Bangkok tease