Ritz, Manchester, 29/5/2015
published: 22 /
Billy Seagrave watches grunge rockers Mudhoney play an exuberant and fiery set at the Ritz in Manchester
When a band with a history and pedigree as long as Mudhoney make a trip across the pond, expectations are going to be high. Hailing from Seattle, and admirably acknowledged as a major influence on the late Kurt Cobain, Mudhoney came prepared for action. By the end of the evening, we had had the privilege of revelling in a twenty-six song set.
The first support act Barton Carrol had travelled with Mudhoney across the ocean as an opening prelude to a night's entertainment that had a personal touch attached to it, Carrol delivered songs from his latest album 'Avery County, I am Bound to You', and delivered a style of folk music not over- powered by clever turn-of-phrase woe is me lyrics. Down-to-earth tales and observations are his forte on everyday life, and Carrol's banter with the crowd was as powerful as his splendid voice.
Mudnoney's lead guitarist joined Carrol on stage to add a little more depth and structure to the last few songs in the set. The whole set was watched from the photo pit by Mudhoney's singer and rhythm guitarist Mark Arm and bassist Guy Maddison, both who came out to show support for their own support acts.
Next up was psychedelic folk band Wolf People, who fused together retro folk, grunge and sweaty blues, with a vocal storytelling style that definitely had an influence from hip hop. They were appreciated by the crowd acknowledged a band with their own identity.
Mudhoney took to the stage and settled in. Mark Arm's delivery was as sublime as it was raw. There was an edge to his vocals that had the crowd hanging on each and every line. Steve Turner's guitar drove a heavy blues funk vibe and powerful vintage grunge that is as current today as it ever was. Guy Maddison had the smile and swagger of a young lad who has just been given the opportunity play with his favourite band. From the beginning to the end of the set, the smile on his face was as constant as the percussion of Dan Peters on drums.
Mark Arm dispensed with his guitar and began to prowl the stage. He was very Iggy Pop-esque in his mannerisms, bending backwards and thrashing about, in a throwback that would not have been out of place in the heady days of punk.
'I Like It Small', 'Sweet Young Thing (Ain’t Sweet No More)' and 'You Stupid Asshole' allowed the very appreciative crowd to boost the vocal prowess of Mark's energetic and youthful performance.
'Touch Me I’m Sick' was a firm favourite and hailed mass head banging. Unfortunately for most of the audience their days of flowing locks was long past, and the only things that were flailing were shoulders.
'Chardonnay' along with 'The Only Son of the Widow of Nain' brought the close to what had been a powerhouse performance.
'In ‘N’ out of Grace' brought to an end what was a five song encore.
Mudhoney had travelled a long road, one that brought them to an audience that was looking for something special, I don’t think anyone left disappointed. This was a set that was professional as it was accomplished.
Photos by Billy Seagrave