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Mudhoney at the Echo, Sunday April 14th 2013

I am not sure I would have enjoyed Mudhoney in the 1990s – I am late for a lot of things in life – but I truly had fun at their show on Sunday night at the Echo. First of all it was a early show, 6:30 for the opening band and 7:30 for Mudhoney? Are you kidding me? May be they are aware that their fans aren’t getting younger? But I actually greatly appreciated it! Secondly, that big desert music festival didn’t completely empty Silver Lake? Anyway, kudos to Mudhoney for doing a show on a Coachella weekend, and kudos to this crowd which had packed the Echo so early. These smart people had let the masses roast under the hot sun and run after Daft Punk’s ghost, while having a cool beer and listening to one of the most influential bands of 90s alt-rock,… because we can we say this about Mudhoney, can we?

 

I mean if you wanted a truly raw punk rock show, that was the place to be, the show started rather mellow, crowd-wise, and progressively escalated in an eruption of body energy, mosh-pit and crowd surfing. I was close to the stage and was happy about my spot, although I had to move sideway little by little to avoid to be kicked by a few tennis shoes in the head, but beside this, I maintain a sweet spot and a great view of the four rockers giving a ferocious show on the small stage of the Echo.

 

Mudhoney is sold (on many websites) as the essential grunge band, but what I heard was mostly punk and frontman Mark Arm and his band clearly reminded me of the Stooges, especially during the second part of the show when he let his guitar down, cleared up the stage from some guitar pedals and took the mic in one hand, twisting his body into odd positions,… at this point I had visions of some 80s punk rock matinees with Iggy Pop (hey it was early!) I had never attended nevertheless. There was no nostalgia involved from my part, I wasn’t going to punk shows in the 80-90s and I had never seen Mudhoney live! I was just trying to imagine what it was like for the oldest people in the room.

 

‘Vanishing Point’ is Mudhoney's first album in 5 years, and they were celebrating, playing a lot of songs off it, like the hilarious, super catchy and all power-chorus ‘I like it small’, which, in case you were wondering, contains this line, ‘And I'll take GG Allin/ Over Long Dong Silver anytime’… Although it’s always difficult to understand lyrics live, especially when it’s buried in such loud guitars and hyperactive drums, I figured out that all their songs were filled with this same irony, cynicism and tongue-in-cheek anti-mainstream.

 

The crowd really reacted with energy when they played the toilet-humor-disaster ‘Sweet Young Thing’, may be one of their greatest ones? But there were many songs like this, and mid show, sometimes around ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ the crowd started to be out of control and a girl chose that moment to jump on stage to hug Mark Arm, a true testimony of their punk sex appeal. A few crowd surfers forced me to get closer and closer to a sweaty middle-age guy who had drunk way too many beers and who was screaming in my right ear,… oh but it was a Mudhoney show, it had to get a little dirty.

 

The roaring energy, Mark Arm’s screaming in-your-face vocals, Steve Turner’s unpredictable solos, the guitar assaults and the sonic distortions were there since the beginning, they sure wanted to kick some buts from minute one, but the more songs they were playing, the more energy was emerging from the room, and just before the encore the music became all thunderous and they blew the roof of the place. I thought they sounded more Stooges than ever, why aren’t these guys more famous?

 

They came back for a long encore with some monster guitars and in particular this new ‘Chardonay’ song with the memorable line ‘Get the fuck out of my backstage’, some youthful restless anger and insulting arrogance sung by a 50-year-old.

 

‘When people think about punk rock they think about lazy,… but here are two songs about ambition!’, said Mark Arm to end the show with two covers from Fang and Black Flag… the punk rock matinee had suddenly transformed itself into some 80s something hardcore soiree… how long did they play?

 

Reading some tweets when I get home, I can tell that a lot of punk rockers were at the show, at least Dimitri Coats (OFF!) and members from the Urinals, and the Melvins? I didn’t see any of them but nobody should be surprised.

 

 

Setlist

Slipping away

I Like it Small

You Got it

Suck you dry

Get into yours

Who you Drivin’ now

In this Rubber Tomb

Sweet Young Thing (Ain’t Sweet No More)

Judgment, Rage, Retribution and Thyme

No one has

Good enough

Touch Me I’m Sick

What to do with the Neutral

I’m Now

The Final Course

I don’t remember you

The Only Son of the Widow from Nain

 

Encore (not sure if it is complete)

Sing this song of Joy

Chardonnay

Tales of Terror

The Money Will Roll Right in (Fang cover)

Fix Me (Black Flag cover)

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