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Live: Mudhoney – The Forum, London

There seems to be an unwritten law that any review or even reference to Mudhoney cannot be made without the following three words repeated at the end of each sentence, so for the sake of obligation here goes, in chronological order Seattle, Grunge, Nirvana.

It seems painfully lazy that 20 years since any relevant ‘grunge’ album, or band for that matter has entered the pop music sphere that these buzzwords still overshadow one of most exciting bands of the 90s.

Over a see of bald heads it was clear to see that Arm and co were not here tonight to win new fans but to fulfill the nostalgia trips of their ever strong following. A six by six foot backdrop hanging over the vastly uncovered Forum stage suggested that they may not be so optimistic about venues size any more, but it was also an indication of the no-nonsense stage show and lack of any tricks or gimmicks that many of their peers might use to put on the same calibre of show.

Playing tracks spanning from there pioneering 1988 breakthrough Superfuzz Bigmuff right through to 2013s Vanishing Point, the band put on a spread suitable for even the most die hard of fans, and supplied enough shout along moments to inspire a wonderful atmosphere of gloom and excitement.

At times, although flawless, there was a lack of rawness once characteristic to these Subpop veterans but after 25 years of playing these songs this seemed a fair compromise, and classics like ‘Suck You Dry’, ‘Into The Drink’ and ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ still had the power to revert the entire crowd to their inner 18-year-old selves. Mid-set Mark Arm put his guitar down and channeling Iggy Pop and Jagger went into full frontman mode for some of the newer and less guitar heavy numbers, storming the stage with punk rock bravado to the likes of ‘What to Do With the Neutral’ and ‘I’m Now’.

In all honesty there may have been a sense that this show was more about paying off mortgages and label obligations than its original DIY spirit but take nothing away, Mudhoney certainly worked hard for their money.

Although band members are nearing the legal retirement age they still managed a career spanning hour and a half of energetic performance that would put most young bands to shame. Arm’s trademark snarl cut through the P.A. system with impressive stamina and Steve Turner provided enough fuzz to keep a crowd full of ears ringing well into tomorrow morning.

Adam Robson

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoPDJypZfpM”]
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