Monday, 22 March 2010

Glorious Mud

I loved Mudhoney.
In fact, some of the most fun I ever had at gigs were at Mudhoney shows.

The best being at the School of Oriental and African Studies at The London University, in 89.
The show had been gratuitously oversold; there seemed to be hundreds in the bar, and the venue itself, placed in another part of the building, looked as if it could accommodate perhaps a third of those wetting their whistles.

Soundgarden were playing their little hearts out, watched by a few but mainly ignored [sorry, Cem], and as their set whimpered to an end the space suddenly became comparable to The Marx Brothers' cabin scene in Night at the Opera.

Mudhoney came on stage; which was instantly invaded - out of necessity as much as enthusiasm - when suddenly there appeared aloft a beautiful antique green Fender. It began to be passed around, hand to hand, to eager outstretched arms, moving it further and further away from the stage, where amongst the total melee stood an incredibly anxious looking Mark Arm; gaze fixed on the ever journeying precious axe.
Much to his relief 'the precious' achieved a complete circuit of the venue, eventually returning to its owner's loving arms.

Eventually the band managed to find a little room on stage and launched into their opening number, but what with all the chaos and exaggerated anticipation, as soon as the first riff attempted to cut its way through the densely occupied space, the place entirely erupted; going off with such a frenzy even the band could see the health and safety implications, and not wanting to be responsible for a massacre of their own audience, stopped and left the stage.

Some quick and serious adjustments were made to the dangerous space; and now tables, sheets of ply-wood and all measure of objects and whatnot were being passed towards a rear exit over the heads of the bewildered but accommodating audience; passing back the assorted objects, it must be said, with almost as much reverence as they had handled 'the precious'.

Once the alterations had been sorted, Mudhoney returned, and played an absolute blinder.
And hey, that's what it used to be like at those early Sub Pop shows: mad, fucked-up, but total fun.

During those early days of the Sub Pop Grunge scene, many (and I include myself among them) believed Mudhoney were going to be the band who went on to achieve the greatest success.

Superfuzz Bigmuff was/is without doubt far superior to Bleach [Ooh, controversial...], and the early part of this collection of BBC recordings (a session they did for John Peel in 89) captures perfectly the anarchic energy they had; an energy that was so appealing; especially when performed live.

The Last time I saw Mudhoney was in Fulham; Tad were supporting, and to be quite honest, for my money, Tad completely blew Mudhoney away.

That kind of depleted my relationship with them really, especially relating to any new stuff they went on to produce; which was all pretty lame anyway compared with their earlier recordings and sense of anarchic fun.

But I still love the old stuff, and when you're in the mood for some raucous stomping about the house music, Mudhoney fit the bill perfectly.

Mudhoney - Here Comes Sickness (Best of BBC Recordings) (2000)

Here Comes Sickness
If I Think
By Her Own Hand
You Make Me Die
Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
Poisoned Water Poisons the Mind
Editions of You
Suck You Dry
You Got It (Keep It Out of My Face)
What Moves the Heart
In My Finest Suit
Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
This Gift
Into Yer Schtik
Touch Me I'm Sick
Fuzzgun 91
Poisoned Water Poisons the Mind
When Tomorrow Hits
Hate the Police

Tracks 1-4: John Peel Session 9/5/89
Tracks 5-8: Radio 1 Evening Session 24/5/95
Tracks 9-21: Live at the Reading Festival, broadcast on The John Peel show 27/8/95

CD rip to mp3s
Make yourself all muddy here

1 comment:

teifidancer said...

excellent , and that's just the sense of place I get in your words.
My memory of late 80s severely limited