Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mudhoney - Endless Boogie -- Bowery Ballroom (NYC) - May 12 2013

Endless Boogie - I am in Manhattan tonight with my brother and we get started with this local twin-guitar quartet. They are loud, with snarling vocals, dirty slide guitars, fuzz, and wah-wahs, with a pounding rhythm section--in another word, Mudhony. But no, they use much of the same tools to play longer blues-rock jams. Their boogie is not quite endless, but with four songs in 38 minutes, it is close enough. So not exactly like Mudhoney, but they certainly are a good opening band choice to get the extensive crowd warmed up. My brother hears the Stooges and I would have to say that the first cut sounded like a good outtake jam from 'Raw Power'. The middle dragged a tad, but the closing number was a powerful drone with a steady (nearly dull) rhythm section setting the stage for long, throbbing guitar wanderings and a few vocal lines salting it up a bit. I enjoy a good drone and these guys nailed it at the end. They may not be a band I would want to listen to in the studio as they are more about sound than songs, but they certainly create a great atmosphere on stage. And although I have heard of this venue for some time, this is my first visit and I would certainly be happy to be a regular here. They have a comfortable downstairs lounge with the ballroom and a small balcony with some seating that all-in-all looks like it would accommodate a Black Cat-sized crowd.
Mudhoney - I have been a huge fan of this band pretty much since Day One, and even BC in the Green River days. Somehow I have only caught them once on stage which is really odd, so I trekked up to NYC to catch them before they head off to Europe. Although I was not sure they would be hitting DC, they now have a U Street Music Hall show set for September 23rd. So if you're in DC (or any of the other cities they are hitting), should you go see Mudhoney in 2013? Absolutely! Early in the set I was thinking that it may be hard to imagine how profound this sound was back when these guys were pretty much creating in what would become the grunge scene. And although it is much more familiar these days and not quite as dangerous, there are still moments of pure magic in many of their songs. And they do a fabulous hour long set that balances brand new material with songs from their early days ignoring albums they don't care about and providing most of their classics which had the crowd doing some serious dancing and even a few stage dives and crowd surfing. You still see the brilliant component parts of this band with Dan Peters powerful drumming anchoring it all. The 'new' bass player Guy Maddison has been a great fit for many years now and even had a long dazzling lead bass run later on. Steve Turner creates his magical sounds and can vary the style and pace brilliantly while Mark Arm does the wicked slide work and hyperthick sludge rhythms. I am very happy that his voice still has that sneer to it as he can stretch it all over his gnarled range, creating that great vocal tension needed to stay on top of this wonderful music. They played for an hour with a 25 minute encore 'set' that finished off with the Dicks' "Hate the Police", which still may be the greatest American punk song ever (at least post 1977). So Mudhoney 2013 still has it and I will be writing this all again come September, when I hope to make it back from Europe to do this all again.

Quote of the Day: From the opening band... "Did everyone call their Moms today? I see some of you you shrinking."

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