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- Koko, Camden Town »
- Mudhoney »
Forgive me a second of confusion, but what exactly is irony? Ever since that Canadian coffee shop Muppet Morissette blithered on almost endlessly about rainy days and post-lottery death my idea of what constitutes the ironic has been somewhat skewed. So, help me out here: when I’m singing – nay, screaming – “Keep it outta my face!” along to Mudhoney’s ‘You Got It’, is it ironic because I actually want it in my face? I’m saying no, but I’m meaning oh hell yes, give it to me, more more and, oh why not, more still. Soak me in your feedback and holler ‘til my ears run red.
“That’s right… you got it… you’re fucked!”
And it feels brilliant, Mark. Thanks. The second of Mudhoney’s Don’t Look Back shows follows the exact same trajectory as the previous evening's, i.e. they play Superfuzz Bigmuff from start to finish straying not once from the predetermined route. On paper it’s a double-sided dilemma: on the one side the record’s ace and it’s stood the test of time; on the other, who wants to see a show where the excitement is dulled somewhat by the audience forever knowing what’s next? I’ll ‘fess that pre-show I was apprehensive; twenty minutes later, with ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ bouncing off balconies and bars, I’m in some kind of grungey heaven.
Name me a band that can make guitars sound like they’re being played in six feet of quicksand today. Yup, none, yet when Mudhoney tear through ‘Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More’, it’s like the walls have fallen in and we’re drowning in fast-setting cement, escape absolutely impossible. Steve Turner stands hunched throughout, as if he’s bracing himself for the imminent collapse; Mark Arm, meanwhile, twitches his wiry frame about in the manner we’ve become accustomed to. Almost twenty years since their debut, Mudhoney still possess the physical characteristics necessary to entertain on top of their music’s obvious longevity.
Each and every time a song fades to silence the crowd – mostly in or nearing their thirties, and a few clearly beyond such an age – roars their nostalgic approval before howling like a baying pack of hounds for the next song. Since ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ is dispensed first, it’s ‘Hate The Police’ that sounds the curtain’s fall (pre-encore, anyway; I have to leave to make it across town in time for the rather less antique Blood Red Shoes), a puss-filled blister to pop upon the show’s close. As the bass finally rests and we lift our heads above the sludge for the first time in an hour, the scene can be fully surveyed: smiles left, right and centre; fans new, old and older absolutely in awe, still, of the one grunge band that continues to plough a rarely diverging furrow, and does so brilliantly.
They’re crying out for more as DiS heads through the doors; they want it - all of it - in their faces ‘til their foreheads explode, 'til they're truly fucked. Long may such a desire continue.
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