Live Review: Mudhoney, Meat Puppets, METZ (June 6th, 2013)

Mudhoney sign

Possibly the best show I’ll ever see, Mudhoney came to the O2 Academy Newcastle and they brought along some special friends for three and a half hours of incredible music – even the music played over the PA was great. Not bad for £16.

METZ being engulfed by the sun.
METZ being engulfed by the sun.

I found myself at the stickiest section of the barrier just in time for the first band. METZ are an exciting group (from Canada!) and noisy as shit.

It would be easy enough to compare them to ye olde grunge music but there’s some other stuff going on in there too, perhaps a smattering of NIN. There’s certainly a shitload of distortion and feedback but it’s used in a special kind of way that’s different to your regular Nirvana-types and very difficult to explain in proper words.

There’s also plenty of screaming, but it’s not your icky fake “I hate my parents” screaming, this is real “I’m so busy being rock ‘n’ roll that I can’t think of any words so I’m just going to yell instead” screaming. Excellent.

METZ put on an incredibly intense show and you should see them wherever you can. I don’t care if they’re opening for a band you hate, you go and see METZ and then you go home, they’re that good. Then go and see them again when they get a chance to headline. Just remember to take your earplugs out – tinnitus is just another type of feedback, after all.

Curt Kirkwood setting up. An unfortunately timed shot if there ever was one.
Curt Kirkwood setting up. An unfortunately timed shot if there ever was one.

Meat Puppets just sort of mosey on stage and are probably the most ridiculously laid-back guys you’ll ever see. Cris is the more animated of the Kirkwood brothers, bounding about the stage like a baby giraffe, while Curt is content to simply rip your face off with his guitar solos.

A personal highlight was Plateau from Meat Puppets II. Bombs could have hit and I’d have been happy just to have seen that song live. They of course played all the other songs they had to, with some beautiful harmonies on Oh, Me in particular and most songs being extended with some cool jamming and insane guitar work.

It's such a bad picture because I was busy having an amazing time.
It’s a bad picture because I was busy having an amazing time.

Meat Puppets are one of those rare bands who are capable of inducing a purely musical high and it was a shame to have to see them leave (support bands can do encores, can’t they?) but my life feels a lot more fulfilled for having seen them at all.

Mudhoney are probably some of the most natural performers I’ve ever seen, they were all laughing and joking on stage and generally seemed very happy to be there – guitarist Steve Turner cupping his hands to his mouth and yelling “WE’RE GOING TO PLAY TOUCH ME I’M SICK NOW” comes to mind.

Mudhoney playing another wholesome hit.
Mudhoney playing another wholesome hit.

At least one song was played from every album they have released (excepting 2006’s Under a Billion Suns) with the focus naturally being on latest album Vanishing Point. Despite picking and mixing songs from throughout their 25 year career it didn’t feel like a “HERE ARE OUR NEW SONGS, HERE ARE SOME OLD SONGS FOR PUTTING UP WITH THE NEW SONGS” show.

Every song was fuckin’ great and any one that wasn’t already a classic absolutely deserves to be.

Songs wot they played. Thanks to Rob Tolson for the photo.

Mark Arm played guitar most of the night (slide guitar, in fact) but it was when he took it off that he really showed us what a fantastic performer he is as he slunk about the stage like Iggy Pop reborn through a lemur.

Kind of like this.

It felt like a massive betrayal as the band left the stage after only an hour (and 19 songs!) even though I knew they’d be back for an encore, because why wouldn’t they be? What I couldn’t have anticipated was that the encore would be perhaps the best part of the show.

I’m used to bands coming out and doing a couple of songs as if to say “here’s a couple of songs we forgot to play, now fuck off” but Mudhoney came out and played 20-30 minutes of both classic tracks and some cover songs, Fang’s The Money Will Roll Right In being one of the most excellent things I’ve ever seen performed.

Every one of the bands who played would have been worth the ticket price by themselves but this tour has to be the bargain of the fuckin’ century – two classic and inspirational bands who are right now putting out some of their best material yet, and a new group who deserve our undying love and devotion because they’re already incredible after one album.

See them together, see them separately, just see them all before you die. You owe it to yourself.

Mudhoney played…

Slipping Away
I Like It Small
You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)
Suck You Dry
Poisoned Water
In This Rubber Tomb
Where the Flavor Is
Sweet Young Thing (Ain’t Sweet No More)
Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
No One Has
Good Enough
Douchebags on Parade
Touch Me I’m Sick
What to Do With the Neutral
I’m Now
The Final Course
I Don’t Remember You
Chardonnay
The Only Son of the Widow from Nain

Encore:
Into the Drink
Here Comes Sickness
In ‘N’ Out of Grace
The Money Will Roll Right In (Fang cover)
Hate the Police (Dicks cover)
Fix Me (Black Flag cover)

Here’s some Spotify for those of you playing along at home.

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