Gig review: Mudhoney, Glasgow

RE-FORMING? That’s for those sissy bands who split up. While many of their better-known peers have been and gone and come again, this Seattle proto-grunge crew have kept on keeping on – in much their original line-up, led by singer/guitarist Mark Arm – for a quarter-century, averaging an album every four years.

Mudhoney - O2 ABC, Glasgow

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The quartet’s most recent offering at the altar of throatily howled vocals and soundly stomped distortion pedals, Vanishing Point, arrived in April, and was ostensibly the subject of this performance – light on chat, heavy on volume – alongside all the anti-hits and more.

A fierce defence of the, ahem, less sizeable things in life, I Like It Small defiantly reaffirmed Mudhoney’s position as pugnacious underdogs, not to mention a long-standing antidote to their many grunge contemporaries much less well-endowed in the sense-of-humour stakes.

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If it didn’t demand earplugs, it didn’t get a look in, from the savage Suck You Dry through the acerbically tuneful Good Enough and, come the encore – off of their Iconic 1988 debut EP Superfuzz Bigmuff – In ’n’ Out of Grace, a track that seems to only gain more power with vintage.

Speaking of vintage. “If anyone is curious about the secret of our longevity,” joked Arm, at the top of covers-heavy encore that later culminated with a furious take on Black Flag’s Fix Me, “it’s because we drink wine instead of whisky.” He earned a chorus of mock boos in response – OK, so it’s not just the bands that split who’re sissies.

malcolm jack