Grunge godfathers Mudhoney rage at Underground Arts - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Thirty-five-or-so years since Seattle’s somber brand of rock-and-roll flipped mainstream music on its head, only a handful of the artists responsible for that revolution are still riding the tour circuit and spreading the good word of grunge gospel. The most famous of them, Pearl Jam, is still recording new music and selling out arenas, and although the Foo Fighters may not have been a seminal part of gunge’s origin story, well legend has it that their frontman surely was.

Although you’re probably unlikely at this point to get to see either of those artists play the thrashy punk rock that brought them up in the tiny basement clubs they were brought up in, there is at least one band remaining from that era whom you can still see play just the way you could back then, and it just so happens to be one of the ones that started it all: if you’re willing, if you’re able – Mudhoney will still clobber you with distorted amp stacks, and you’ll be better off for it.

Hoveriii | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

To warm up the Underground Arts stage Sunday night, Hooveriii (pronounced “Hoover Three,” if you were wondering) lined up five-thick with sax and synth on the flanks, and blasted the Underground Arts crowd with a luxuriant set of proggy psych-rock. They play their instruments with a level of skill approaching the prodigious, with frontman Bert Hoover looking a little like Duane Allman in an anachronistic Spacemen 3 tee, his long hair flailing with every headbang on dueling-octave guitar solos that would make Nels Cline nod in approval.

Onto a set draped with in-season Halloween decor, the Mudhoney men emerged at almost 10 p.m. They started – and ended – with music from 1988’s Superfuzz Bigmuff, but along the way took the loyal legions on a tour of their whole tour of their catalog, while behind them a large screen cycled through the relevant album’s cover art. New this year, selections from Plastic Eternity were featured prominently, but for a catalog of eleven records spanning over three decades, only a couple were overlooked.

Mudhoney | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Now in their late fifties and early sixties, guitar-slingers Mark Arm and Steve Turner, and drum-thumper Dan Peters are grunge’s elder-statesmen. Arm resembles the second coming of Iggy a little bit these days, especially when he gets serious later in the set and sheds his rhythm guitar to hold a loose mic. That semblance doesn’t feel like all that much of a coincidence though when you hear just how much of Mudhoney’s music channels the, er, raw power of The Stooges, and although their heydays are some 18 years apart, if you turn it up the throughline from “Lust For Life” to “F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers)” still makes the walk from 1977 to 1995 feel like the shortest distance between two points.

Joined now by Guy Maddison replacing original bassist Matt Lukin, who retired from music some 20 years ago, through Sunday’s performances of fan-favorites like “Touch Me I’m Sick” and “Suck You Dry,” great newer tracks like “Little Dogs” and an encore featuring blistering renditions of “You Got It” and “In ‘n’ Out Of Grace,” Mudhoney seems to have managed to maintain everything they’ve always offered as far back as their earliest records – the chemistry, the cohesion, and the comedy: on their merch table, a small stand of signature collectable black-rimmed reading glasses features a sign that reads “Touch Me, I’m Sixty.”

No matter: age-related astigmatism aside, they’ll still kick your ass with their skater sneaks on.

Underground Arts
  • If I Think
  • Move Under
  • Get Into Yours
  • Nerve Attack
  • Who You Drivin’ Now?
  • Souvenir Of My Trip
  • Let It Slide
  • Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
  • Good Enough
  • Sweet Young Thing (Ain’t Sweet No More)
  • Touch Me I’m Sick
  • Little Dogs
  • Inside Job
  • Suck You Dry
  • Almost Everything
  • Flush The Fascists
  • F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers)
  • Oh Yeah
  • I'm Now
  • Paranoid Core
  • Human Stock Capital
  • 21st Century Pharisees
  • One Bad Actor
  • You Got It
  • Tom Herman’s Hermits
  • When Tomorrow Hits
  • In ‘N’ Out Of Grace
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