Out of all the bands to come out of Seattle’s monolithic grunge era, Mudhoney may be the band that operates in the same mindset now as it did 20 years ago. Unlike some of their contemporaries, Mudhoney never broke into the upper levels of the so-called Alternative Nation stratosphere, but also unlike those bands, they never had a chance to wrestle with the fame that plagued so many of the movement’s leaders. As a result, Mudhoney are entering their 24th year with nearly the same lineup as they began with (bassist Matt Lukin left in 2000) and an unbridled passion for creating roaring garage-influenced rock that, despite all odds, ages tastefully. Although the band have now grown into elder statesmen, they’re still miles away from settling into old age, because 24 years later, “Touch Me I’m Sick” remains an absolute pit starter live, as well as one of the most visceral and fevered songs to ever come out of Seattle.
Also 24 years later, Seattle still loves Mudhoney, as shown by the packed audience for their Bumbershoot Music Lounge set. Raw, emotive vocals over intricate guitar, bass, and drum lines made for an intense, ferocious performance. But although their music may sound serious, even ranty, Mudhoney didn’t take themselves too seriously, shrugging off a little technical trouble getting a guitar set up, and then laughing over a misstep when starting one song. It’s always great to see a band clearly enjoying themselves, and the audience was right along with them.
They blazed through a set heavy on new songs, plus a few older ones including “I’m Now” and “The Open Mind” from their most recent release, 2008’s The Lucky Ones. Although they made no mention of a new album, they’ve clearly been busy writing, and everyone in the audience no doubt is looking forward to more.
Mudhoney play this evening on the Sub Pop Stage on the Fountain Lawn at 6:45 pm.