For the first half of Mudhoney's set on Sunday evening, Mark Arm looked kinda stoic. He stood directly behind the mic stand and grunged-out with a straight face. Then something happened: the mic came off the stand, and Arm started making all sorts of weird faces. He staggered around vertigo-style and then whispered into the mic, kneeling into the stage as if he were about to conduct some sort of ritualistic sacrifice. Then he sprung up, and I was almost expecting him to conjure some broken glass then roll in it as he violently traipsed the stage.
This (and the photographer I abducted photos from, thanks Keith!) got me thinking of Mr. Pop. By day, he is good ol' polite, reserved Jim Osterberg, the kind of man you'd be happy to bring home to your mother. By night, he is Iggy Pop Godfather of Punk, the kind of animal you hide in the closet from your mother after fucking with whips and chains all night. As you may have caught in Dave Segal's preview, by day Mark Arm is Sub Pop's warehouse manager. He (and the rest of the band) had fancy, electric-colored Starbucks drinks onstage and some are married, some with children. But Arm can really bust out his Iggy.
Mudhoney cranked through a set of mostly crowd-favorites, with the highlight for me being "In 'N' Out of Grace" from perhaps their most well-known non-single, the Superfuzz Bigmuff EP. The song crashed into a psych-grunge fury of brutal fuzz, and there wasn't a still crowd member in sight. I was also impressed by Mudhoney's apparently multi-generational appeal, as there were as many (maybe more?!) teens as grunge dads in the crowd. And the teens and dads were rocking out equally, too. A dad to my left— sporting athletic shoes, khaki pants, and a baseball cap— got downright riotous, fist-pumping in ecstatic trance as I have seen few fist pump before.
Crowd-surfing/mosh report: It started off slow but peaked during "Touch Me I'm Sick", which I caught 14-year-old skateboarder boys screaming along to. The crowd never gets toooo wild, but at least I don't get kicked in the face! +++
Band fashion report: In proper Northwestern form, Mudhoney LUUUUV the earth tones and subdued hues. Plus, Steve Turner's hair matches his pants!!
Etc report: three adorable blond children backstage sang along to most of the set, including "Touch Me I'm Sick," which was kinda disturbing but still pretty punk. They were not Mark Arm's children (he "doesn't have any"), although they all looked JUST LIKE HIM (ahem, love children?!).