Saturday, 28 February 2009

MUDHONEY LIVE AT EL SOL (dirs: Jose Guimaray and David Picher)

MUDHONEY LIVE AT EL SOL (dirs: Jose Guimaray and David Picher)

Of all the grunge bands Mudhoney always appeared and excelled at being the ones having most fun on stage and possessing what appeared to be the darkest and sharpest sense of humour, something their audience have always been receptive to. Perhaps they got all their seriousness and miserablism out of their system when with Green River.

Times have been of late for both Mudhoney and their fan base. As Sub Pop celebrated its 20th anniversary so did Mudhoney, the jack that built the house some might argue. After a vinyl only live album from Mexico (Live Mud) surfaced following came an amazing reissue of Superfuzz Bigmuff shortly followed by a very competent and occasionally thrilling new studio album in The Lucky Ones and all ending with an amazing show at the Kentish Town Forum where the kids demonstrated how they still go bollo for Mudhoney. And then as a surprise out came this live DVD.

It was only a year or so ago that a Mudhoney DVD was being promised from more official sources that would come complete with videos and classic clips, a package that caused much salivation. Suddenly however the release disappeared from schedules and it became apparent that it would be no more. So thank Munster for putting this live DVD out.

This is not the first time there has been a live Mudhoney video release. At the height of play the “Absolutely Live” video was put out by K7 in what appeared to be something of a semi official release and despite my prayers over the past ten or so years has never made its way onto DVD.

Live has always been where Mudhoney have thrived. More often than not it has been their live bootleg albums that I have gone to as opposed to the original studio offerings and it was indeed the live tracks of the Superfuzz Bigmuff re-release that made the whole package special this year.

Here in El Sol despite looking older and with beards (with ironically a Three Stooges lookalike on bass), although the pace appears to have dropped the appear to be at the height of their powers, exercising and displaying a gratitude and genuine excitement at still being a serious unit twenty years on. When Courtney Love sang with Hole “there’s only us left now” she was sadly mistaken.

The eighty one minute long show begins with “You Got It” and then there is no turning back. Shortly after comes the greatest live version of “Suck You Dry” I have ever seen or heard the band do, one of the strongest songs in their cannon and previously a constant disappointment when performed live. Not here though when the band are so on fire.

The set delves heavily from the latest record The Lucky Ones, an offering topping their previous few “comeback” albums and satisfaction is guaranteed as both the audio and visual of the night is captured crisply and excitingly. Also with Mark Arm possessor of the greatest smile in rock happily the spirit and energy of the performance are captured long after such an execution should really be possible.

How green was our valley?