Mudhoney – Review

@ Newcastle Northumbria University, October 4 2010

Surviving as one of the initial bands to come straight from the grimy depths of the Seattle grunge scene, Mudhoney have had a modest cult following for the best part of their existence.

While the buzz of the late 80s and early 90s have passed by, those who say grunge died with Nirvana may be mistaken, especially if Mudhoney have anything to say about it.

 

It’s one of the harsh realities of the game but when bands continue to play on into older years, there’s always that chance they fall into sad obscurity or they simply start to malfunction.

This is quite the opposite for Mudhoney, who still pack the punch to deliver new songs as well as old.  Into The Drink was a welcome beginning, but was eclipsed by the popular Suck You Dry.

Mark Arm’s quivering strains of vocal chords raged amongst the rumbling undercurrent of dirge and distortion to give everyone an excuse to question the frontman’s age.

At 48, he’s never seemed more at home on the stage and the same goes for the other three.  Though the crowd were already firmly in their hands, the pace quickened and Steve Turner showed up with some solo work in the dark humour of Touch Me I’m Sick.

The Open Mind was one of the songs in the set that allowed Arm the freedom of the stage without his guitar.  The result unleashes a second persona of Mark Arm who becomes more comparative to David Yow of The Jesus Lizard.

Avid fans will always demand the classics, particularly when they’ve paid to see a rare performance as this one, and that’s completely understandable.  But Mudhoney are under no illusions when it comes to the crunch of devising a set list.

They varied their songs from American tour dates, but created a professional show that flowed with rare breaks in energy.   A neurotic rendition of title track from the latest album The Lucky Ones featured a thrilling drum solo from Dan Peters, showcasing his master technique and speed.

With this performance, Mudhoney not only show whiney wannabes the way to roll, but they demonstrate that they’re capable of taking grunge itself, slinging it on shoulder and taking it forward singlehandedly.

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