Saturday, November 18, 2006

Concert Review: Mudhoney with Birds of Avalon and Hank IV

I saw Mudhoney play at Warsaw about 3 years ago to support of Since We've Become Translucent in Brooklyn to a small but enthusiastic crowd so I was extremely enthused about them playing in Manhattan itself in support of the excellent Under a Billion Suns.

I was sitting on the second floor balcony when the opening act, Hank IV (Their sound could best be described as old school punk in the vein of Dead Kennedys, but with apolitical lyrics.) started. As soon as we heard the opening riff to the first song and witnessed the crazy dance moves of the singer, Bob McDonald, we rushed down. You haven't seen a real dancer till you see this man's spastic, goofy moves. Bonus points for not giving a shit what people think. By the 3rd song, they'd won the crowd over.

In reference to the second act I heard the bar back comment 'the next band, birds of avalon kick ass.' Quite a claim Mr. Bar Back. Quite a claim. That said, they were definitely fun to watch, if at times, not so engaging. I appreciated the twin les paul attack, and at times dual solos of the guitarists - a rare things these days. The drummer and bassist were solid. The only thing that took me a while to warm to was the singer who seemed intent on doing a robert plant vocal impersonation - though that may be because of sound at the venue. I would give seeing the band another go for sure. The crowd was into them - I can see why folks dug it.

Mudhoney's performance at the Knitting Factory last night(The 1st of 2 nights) put to bed any concerns that Mudhoney couldn't bring the rock and attract younger fans. Interestingly, there were many, many kids who were round high school age, and even neater - they knew all the songs too.

Going on just after 11, they played 5 songs from the new album including a crowd fav, "hard on for war." I really happy with the song mix. Equal parts: old, middle, and new periods and a few surprises like Sonic Reducer and Inside Job. The performance was everything I love about the band: A ton of energy, great sense of humor and very loose grooves.

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