Live Reviews

Mudhoney Live

Scientists, Comets On Fire
London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

If you want your mind blown, Comets On Fire are the band for the job. Their freaked-out psychedelic abrasive noise is enough to make your skull crack. Easy listening this is not. If you want background music, go elsewhere. Comets On Fire travel the same uneven musical path as past free-form rockers like the MC5, Pink Floyd, Blue Cheer, Hawkwind and The Stooges and fill every inch of the venue with swirling, soaring guitar, rolling drums and bass and harsh, howling vocals. Anyone for some brown acid?

Scientists are genuine Australian punk legends. Formed in 1978 by James Baker and singer-guitarist Kim Salmon, they’re back again to show us exactly how this rock n’roll shit should be done with a dirty, boozy bluesy whiskey soaked set that is as harsh as Kim’s gravel shredded vocals, yet swings harder than your mumma. Or something.

The last time I saw Mudhoney live was at ATP’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ series of concerts last year. Mudhoney were asked to perform their classic guitar-scorched ‘Superfuzz Big Muff’ album in it’s entirety. Something lacked in their performance that night; to witness Mudhoney playing this material at their peak in the late eighties was one of the best rock n’roll gigs you could ever hope to see. Our memories are scorched with drunken nights and hair, limbs and guitars flying in all directions. Mudhoney gigs were largely chaotic affairs always teetering on the edge of complete disorder. The Mudhoney or recent years is a far more mature, though no less brilliant musical beast. So to see them play their old material as more sedate, older men was strange.

Tonight however, Mudhoney kick off with a frantic blast through ‘Suck You Dry’ and the whole place kicks off like it’s 1989, the dancefloor turning into one giant, lurching moshpit as the audience lunge around the floor. It soon becomes clear that the band are on fine form tonight and crank out a set that effortlessly mixes new material with old classics like ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ and ‘Sweet Young Thing’. Finishing off with a glorious romp through ‘In And Out Of Grace’ that sees guitarists Mark Arm and Steve Turner playing the last part of the song laying on the backs wiggling their feet in the air, tonight Mudhoney prove that there’s still plenty of life left in them yet!

James Sherry