Mudhoney: Hollywood Knitting Factory

It's like '88 all over again as Mudhoney recapture the messy spirit of their grunge glory days...

Picture the year 2015. The ‘Masters Of Grunge’ tour hits the oldies circuit. There’s Eddie Vedder, more cranky in his old age, while a stately, greying Chris Cornell leads Soundgarden through their hits. And opening the show, who else but Mudhoney, still spitting as much garage punk venom as they did back in ’88.

So, what gives Mudhoney this intensity? Maybe it’s because, unlike their grunge compatriots, they never cracked the bigtime. With no compulsion to pander to the masses and follow up million-selling records, Mudhoney just never strayed far from their roots. Two guitars, three chords, a fuzz pedal and a lot of sweat is all that’s required for a good time.

And tonight is no exception. It may not be the ‘Masters Of Grunge’ tour just yet, but after a brief hiatus, Mudhoney are back! Matt Lukin has returned to the fold, in his element again with a bass guitar on his back and a beer in his hand. And once more, Steve Turner and Mark Arm are here to play the dueling guitars of the apocalypse.

From the opening chords, as Mudhoney launch into ‘Suck You Dry’, chaos reigns. Shit flies everywhere – sweat, bodies, microphones, guitars. It’s like 1988 all over again, as the whole room becomes a mosh pit and the Mudhoney classics come thick and fast – ‘Sweet Young Thing’, ‘This Gift’, ‘You Got It’, ‘Here Comes Sickness’, ‘Let it Slide’. As ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ grinds to a halt two bars in, Arm sneers, “We’re gonna play it right, or not at all”, prompting Lukin to retort, “We’ve never played it right in 15 years!” Sure, it’s messy at times, but that’s the essence of Mudhoney, and tonight they can’t be beat.

Jason Reynolds