Montreal Fringe Fest: Elvis Is Water (Interview)

Scotty Boys Productions program and website

One of the more interesting shows at Montreal Fringe Fest, in my opinion, is Elvis Is Water. In an attempt to revisit Elvis Presley’s legendary Sun Studios Sessions, writer/director Katherine Sandford and her husband/lead vocalist John Burns assembled a show of live music which incorporates stories and talk about the Sun Sessions in between the songs.

So check out this amazing interview (I tip my hat to thee for taking the time to write such detailed and passionate answers), and come check out the show! Details as to when/where are right below the interview!

– Elvis has influenced everything from modern music to, most likely, my haircut. Do you find Elvis gets the credit he deserves?

 Musicians appreciate Elvis.  Anyone who really understands rock and roll gets it.But in a larger sense, the answer is no, and that’s really why we named the show “Elvis is Water”.  It comes from as joke that the great writer David Foster Wallace told at the beginning of the famous commencement address he gave at KenyonCollege.  There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

http://moreintelligentlife.com/story/david-foster-wallace-in-his-own-words

That’s the way it is with Elvis.  He’s influenced our culture so much we can’t even see it anymore.    Here’s a quote from the keynote address that Bruce Springsteen gave last year at SXSW conference in Austin, which we reference in our show. (I’ve put the bits we used in italics, you might not want to print all of this – or maybe you will).

“In the beginning, every musician has their genesis moment. For you, it might have been the Sex Pistols, or Madonna, or Public Enemy. It’s whatever initially inspires you to action. Mine was 1956, Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was the evening I realized a white man could make magic, that you did not have to be constrained by your upbringing, by the way you looked, or by the social context that oppressed you. You could call upon your own powers of imagination, and you could create a transformative self.

A certain type of transformative self, that perhaps at any other moment in American History, might have seemed difficult, if not impossible. And I always tell my kids that they were lucky to be born in the age of reproducible technology, otherwise they’d be traveling in the back of a wagon and I’d be wearing a jester’s hat. It’s all about timing. The advent of television and its dissemination of visual information changed the world in the fifties the way the internet has over the past twenty years.

Remember, it wasn’t just the way Elvis looked, it was the way he moved that made people crazy, pissed off, driven to screaming ecstasy, and profane revulsion. That was television. When they made an attempt to censor him from the waist down, it was because of what you could see happening in his pants.

Elvis was the first modern Twentieth Century man, the precursor of the Sexual Revolution, of the Civil Rights Revolution, drawn from the same Memphis as Martin Luther King, creating fundamental, outsider art that would be embraced by a mainstream popular culture.

Television and Elvis gave us full access to a new language, a new form of communication, a new way of being, a new way of looking, a new way of thinking; about sex, about race, about identity, about life; a new way of being an American, a human being; and a new way of hearing music. Once Elvis came across the airwaves, once he was heard and seen in action, you could not put the genie back in the bottle. After that moment, there was yesterday, and there was today, and there was a red hot, rockabilly forging of a new tomorrow, before your very eyes.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-the-complete-text-of-bruce-springsteens-sxsw-keynote-address-20120328#ixzz1tG05xSvM

– People see two different Elvises. The young, swaggering Elvis as represented in your show, and the overweight, oft-parodied Elvis. Do you find that Elvis is often overshadowed by what he later on became?

Well, for a start there are waaay more than just two Elvis’ – people have costume parties were everyone comes as Elvis and all the costumes are different.  Here’s just a few – there’s Elvis in the Army getting his hair cut, the Hollywood Elvis making all those awful movies, there’s the 68 Comeback special Elvis rockin’ it in black leather, there’s Hawaiian Elvis (Lilo and Stich) there’s Karate Elvis (yikes), and there’s the Gospel Elvis – one of the most important IMHO.

Not only did Elvis win his only Grammy for a gospel record, and was a huge gospel fan all his life, he was also a spiritual seeker.  He had books on all kinds of religions and philosophies which he annotated heavily with his own ideas – they have them all at Graceland.

But I think the way he died did overshadow things for a long time.  It was a shock.  He was so humiliated – dying on the toilet like that, so ravaged by the drugs. And it was terrifying – because you couldn’t help but think – is that the way it goes?  Is that going to happen to me?  To us all?  And the short answer is yes, it is.  We are all going to die, and dying is hard.

But now enough time has passed that the shock has worn off a little and the other Elvis’ are shining through – and speaking to artists in new ways.  You may be aware of Free Comic Book Day “May the Fourth be with you.” Well, last year in celebration they Liquid Comics released a limited edition book called Graphic Elvis, (Elvis was a famous comic-book geek, and he said he modelled his look after Captain Marvel he was actually blonde).

Anyway, Graphic Elvis is AWESOME — all these top-notch comic book artists and their interpretations of Elvis, sooo cool.  There is one strip where the Hindu Gods are debate making Elvis the new love god because they credit him with the invention of the Bollywood genre.

But the kicker is “Elvis” written by the great Stan Lee, where we see the King at the pearly gates, being quizzed by St. Peter.  Here’s link to an animated version Wired mag did. http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/05/stan-lee-graphic-elvis/

When Elvis died he had a book in his hands about the historical evidence of the life of Jesus Christ.  So maybe now he’s just a different kind of seeker.

– Another take on Elvis nowadays might be Elvis Is Product. From nostalgia acts, impersonators to t-shirts and posters, do you find the music often gets pushed to the side? Do people remember Elvis as an icon more than they do the songs?

Well, I personally have no problem with Elvis as product, because it’s not some faceless corporation, it’s Priscilla!!  Elvis was actually almost broke when he died, but she was the one who marketed him so successfully – she’s one smart cookie!  She’s actually famous in intellectual property law because she (and her lawyers, obviously) came up with the idea of copywriting a person’s image – Elvis’ was the first!

Also the estate of Elvis is actually very, very generous with fans.  They keep a tight rein on his recording s and his image, but they totally support all the imitators and interpreters.

Priscilla rocks, and she and Lisa Marie deserve every cent they get.

– The actual sound of the Sun Session recordings, from any artist, arguably plays as much of a role in these recordings as the songs themselves. Was this difficult to transpose to the stage?

To be honest we didn’t even try, because it’s impossible. The technicians at RCA went nuts trying to recreate that sound, and they never could. There’s a magic to that room.

But, like the entire show, we were aiming for an interpretation, not an imitation.  And I think the most important part of Elvis’ Sun work was the incredible sound they got from just three instruments (Scotty Moore’s electric guitar, Bill Black’s stand-up bass and Elvis’ rhythm guitar).   They didn’t even have a drum!  That and also the wide variety musical styles they played with.

– Elvis Is Water attempts to find an answer as to why Elvis is as fascinating now as he was 50 years ago. How close do you think you are to the answer?

There is no answer; there are only more questions, grasshopper.

– How did the idea of writing this show as a play come about?

John has an amazing voice, and he loves to sing Elvis.  But he doesn’t like to be unprepared.  He never liked doing ad-lib banter.  And he sure as heck didn’t want to be an Elvis impersonator, so I told him I’d write some stuff for him to say between songs – and then we fell into the rabbit hole together.

– The last, incredibly obvious question. Is Elvis responsible for the birth of rock n roll?

No.  According to Elvis himself it had been around for at least 5 years before he started.

Rock and Roll is lightning, and Elvis was the lightning rod.

Feature: Imaginary Cities

Listen to Imaginary Cities here

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to describe Imaginary Cities. Google them, and you’ll unfortunately get the word “indie” pop up everywhere. “Indie” doesn’t mean anything anymore, in an age where most bands really do “Do It Yourself”. Pop music can be indie nowadays, and so we fall into a bit of a conundrum. Let’s start by what made Imaginary Cities indie: 2 people in the band, multi-instrumentalists, recording and playing everything themselves which warrants a definite do-it-yourself etiquette. But it sounds huge. I am not saying that “indie” sounding music doesn’t sound huge, as a matter of fact I think that from plaid-wearing-banjo-loving-way-too-smiley-folk-rock to retro-sounding-sludge-metal, the term “indie” seems to mean absolutely nothing anymore, as far as attempting to describe music.

Where Imaginary Cities standout, for me, out of the whole indie scene, is that when you hear the music, you can’t help but visualize it. Like this is music that should be played in an arena with a huge budget and massive stage set designed by someone like Robert Lepage. Just look at the front cover of their sophomore album, The Fall Of Romance (out now via Hidden Pony / Votiv), which looks like something out of German filmmaker Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Skip to track 3 and be re-transported to Germany through the beautiful, sweeping song “The Bells Of Cologne”. “Sooner or Later” only reinforces this imagery by heavily recalling the Berlin-period Bowie classic “Sound And Vision”. PS: I checked to find any German connections that Imaginary Cities’ Marti Sarbit and Rusty Matyas may have, but fell flat. Which makes sense, being a tourist is always more romantic than being a native, isn’t it? They’re from Winnipeg, Canada.

To be fair, there is an undeniable Canadian Pop sound to this band. This band could easily tour with acts such as Metric, Arcade Fire, etc… and not be out of place. But Imaginary Cities is just better than the competition. They do not hide behind style for substance to come out. This is true great pop songwriting; often recalling what would happen if the Bee Gees, Bowie and, say Nicolette Larson made an album together.

As with any good art, it brings you into its world, letting you breathe into it comfortably instead of just waiting to know how it will end or which song will standout. To listen to The Fall Of Romance is as much of an experience as watching a great movie, or reading a great novel: something that is completely engrossing and rich and makes you want more. It paints its own doomed-romantic landscape knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel – this is what keeps you grinning throughout. The lyrics have an attitude that recalls Blondie and Canada’s own Blue Rodeo all at once. Everything about Imaginary Cities is smart. I can see why this band limits itself to two members: no 3rd party ego, just a duo sharing an uncompromising single vision and putting life into it. Live, the band gives you the full experience by being a 5-piece group.

Imaginary Cities will be in Montreal June 13, performing at Club Lambi (4465 Boulevard Saint-Laurent). Tickets are 13$ (hear me lol, folks), and can be purchased at https://greenlandevenko.ticketabc.com/events/imaginary130613/

Your mission, dear reader, should you choose to accept it, is to be there.

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Fringe: Complete Madness! Them Blue Midnights Official Schedule

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Without further ado, Them Blue Midnights‘ official ”WILL BE ATTENDING AND REVIEWING THIS ‘CAUSE IT LOOKS AWESOME” list: (keep in mind, a lot of these shows have multiple representations; the times put are the ones I’ll be going to, but they also allow you to not have to scratch your head and make a calendar! So click on the links to get to the official website where you can view the full schedule and purchase your tix!)

ACME BURLESQUE:  Acme Burlesque will tantalize and tease you with striptease, circus performance, and more, all accompanied by an exciting live band.

June 6, 8h30pm @ Mainline Theatre (3997 St-Laurent)

SWEET MOTHER LOGIC: Blending toe-tapping pop with the composition complexity of classical music, Sweet Mother Logic have received universal acclaim, both live and in-studio, via genre-bending instrumental rock.

June 7, 8h30pm @ Divan Orange (4234 St-Laurent)

THE LITTLE BEAU PEEP SHOW: Little Beau Peep lost her sheep only to find them performing with a naughty cast of fictional characters at Café Cleo! Watch adult bedtime stories come to life on stage accompanied by a live sex-shop quartet, where this time around the only thing Beau Peep risks losing are her skivvies!

June 8, 10pm @ Cafe Cleopatre (1230 St-Laurent)

GRINDHOUSE CREW PRESENTS: DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)The Grindhouse Crew returns with another Zombie fest at Terrace St-Ambroise. Featuring “Day of the Dead” (1985), Montreal Improv All-stars, Bloodshot Bill, and zombie artists on-site! A fundraiser for Head & Hands.

June 9, 6pm @ Terrasse St-Ambroise (5080 St-Ambroise)

SMUT SLAM: A fast-paced open mic for first-person sex stories. Prizes and games, too! The theme? BUCKET LIST. Because we all have one…

June 11, 8pm @ Le Cagibi (5490 St-Laurent)

CHERRY ON TOP!:  Est. in 2011 by 3 lovely ladies; Élise Corbeil, Camille Bourdeau et Nathalie Niesing, Les Cherries will enchant you with songs of yesterday and today…Jazz-flavoured a capella!

June 16, 7pm @ Espace 4001 (4001 Berri)

BUILD A STORM: Gifted musician-singer-songwriter Gabriella Hook brightfully merges styles and transcends boundaries. Her first album Build a storm traces the bohemian journey of the singer with a sparkling voice brushed through with brass, piano and accordeon pop arrangements. Everyone who hears agree about one thing : here is a must-follow.

June 16, 8h30pm @ Espace 4001 (4001 Berri)

ELVIS IS WATER: Elvis is Water is a vibrant musical exploration of the Sun Sessions.  Thirty five years after his death, Elvis is now more alive then ever: so much a part of our world it’s as if we are fish – and Elvis is Water. Why are people still fascinated? Why is Elvis Elvis?

June 17, 6h45pm @ Cabaret Du Mile End (5240 av. du Parc)

ANGEL’S SHARE: One bottle of Scotch can do a lot of damage in just an hour. Angel’s Share distills single-malt whisky, grief and memory in this distorted love story.

June 18: 8pm @ Freestanding Room (4324 St-Laurent)

MADE OF MEAT: O! The Desires of the Flesh! So persistent, so immediate, so gnawing! No one need resist all the time.

June 20, 8pm @ Studio Jean-Valcourt (4750 av. Henri-Julien)

LA CRAVATE BLEUE: (IN FRENCH) La cravate bleue, c’est le dilemme du 21e siècle: rêver sa vie ou vivre son rêve. Découvrez les revers de la vie d’artiste lorsque l’amour se mêle aux ambitions d’un jeune professionnel qui démissionne de son emploi ennuyeux pour vivre son rêve d’artiste.

June 21, 7h30pm @ Petit Campus (57 Prince-Arthur E.)

JOE’S CAFE: A music revue of songs based on true stories, recreating the welcoming atmosphere of an all night café.

June 22, 7pm @ Petit Campus (57 Prince-Arthur E.)

TERMINAL C: Are we really in control of our lives? What happens when complete strangers are forced together…indefinitely? Do they lose control or try to hold up their masques and maintain their personas even when the layers slowly start unpeeling? You don’t know how you would react until it happens to you.

June 23, 2h15pm @ Spanish Club (4288 St-Laurent)

TBM @ Montreal Fringe Festival

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Montreal Fringe Fest in MTL is now in its 23rd year and when I was offered a pass to the entire 20-day Fest obviously I graciously accepted and went earlier tonight to Cafe Campus to pick up my pass. From Off-Broadway, to Burlesque, to Music, to Comedy, to Improv, Fringe Fest hosts shows throughout these 20 days allowing artists of all kinds to present themselves with absolutely no restriction on the content they wish to present. To the point that all artists participating are chosen by lottery – no favoritism.

After I picked up my pass, I went upstairs to the Cafe Campus where I witnessed the FRINGE-for-All, where the artists each have 2 minutes to convince you that their show is the one to see. In front of a packed audience, 80 different artists each presented, for 2 short minutes, their material to give you an idea of what’s in store. I unfortunately could not stay for the entire thing, but I sampled a good 40+ acts.

Here are the ones I think are really worth seeing. I hope you find something you like, and for the rest Them Blue Midnights will be covering and reviewing as much material as possible. (Including, mostly, the portion of Fringe that collaborates with Pop Montreal to bring local bands into the spotlight. I can’t wait.)

Listen, I’m doing this quickly because of my personal time restrictions, and I wish I could expand more on these, but given I’ve just sampled 40 different artists, I figured I’d present to you what looked cool, and present you with a brief description followed by Fringe’s official link so you can get more info yourself if you’re interested. Them Blue Midnights welcomes you to the interactive portion of the post.

The Voice Of Wisdom (Theatre, Drama) : http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/voice-wisdom

Smut Slam (Where Storytelling And Erotica Collide. Real people talking about their real one night stands in real detail)http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/smut-slam-where-storytelling-and-erotica-collide

Racial Roulette (Theatre, Comedy) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/racial-roulette

Le Mur Du Son (Danse, Theatre – Looks very experimental and very original, this one looks fantastic) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/racial-roulette

The Little Beau Peep Show (Burlesque. I was sold, this looks not only sexy as a good Burlesque show should, but kept me grinning) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/little-beau-peep-show

Have Fun! (Theatre, drama about the mass murders in America, such as Columbine. Heavy subject that looks expertly acted and written, and very original) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/little-beau-peep-show

Terminal C (Theatre, What happens when strangers are forced together indefinitely – how long until the mask comes off? This was the one that really struck with me.) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/terminal-c

La Cravate Bleue (Theatre, Musical Comedy. How to try to live your life as an artist and balnce it with your regular life. In the 2 min presentation, the main character was singing while distributing condoms. What is not to love?) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/la-cravate-bleue

Grindhouse (Watch George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead” (1985), with  Montreal Improv All-stars, Montreal’s own Bloodshot Bill (featured  and previously interviewed by Them Blue Midnights as the signficant other of King Khan’s Tandoori Knights project), and zombie artists on-site! http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/grindhouse-crew-presents-george-romeros-1985-day-dead

Holy Tranity – A Dirty Love Song To The Gay 80s (Need I say more) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/holy-tranity-dirty-love-song-gay-80s

Now That I Have Your Attention (Dan Bingham, comedian extraordinaire) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/now-i-have-your-attention

ALL MUSIC RELATED SHOWS, AND YES THIS IS VAGUE, BUT BANDS WERE NO PART OF THE SAMPLING SO IT’S NOT MY FAULT, OK, I’M NOT FORCING YOU TO CLICK OR ANYTHING. I LOVE YOU. http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/spectacles-par-genre?genre%5B%5D=6

Cherry On Top! (a capella music, I fell in love with 3 women tonight apparently) http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/cherry-top

So here you have my own picks! I’ll be there, and present at many others. I’m aware this means Them Blue Midnights is stepping out of its music-related comfort zones, but hey, this is a website about shows in Montreal right? SEE YA AT THE SHOWS.

Ghost B.C. Show Review (Montreal, May 7 2013)

You can’t really ask for a better opening of a Ghost show: the smell of incense fills the room as the house lights dim, as the stage is lit up in a somber shade of blue. Then, “Masked Ball” by Jocelyn Pook (aka you know that chant during that orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut?) is played as the intro music. The Nameless Ghouls each slowly walk on and plug in, and open the show with the title track of the band’s sophomore album, Infestissumam (which, roughly translated from Latin means f’n hostile).

We are, of course, to remain patient until we get what we want: this song to go right into Per Aspera Ad Inferi, the 2nd track off the new album, and where, on album as in concert, Evil Pope/vocalist Papa Emeritus II is revealed. You’ve never heard so many girls scream at a metal show since what you’d assume was the primitive shrieking at the sight of a young Sebastian Bach.

As far as the band’s playing, you can tell these are seasoned musicians – the whole set was airlock tight (most likely they play following a metronome to time the samples properly – if they don’t, I am even more impressed). The sound was fantastic: you could follow each instrument very clearly. The music they write is clearly made to be played live: it shows none of the restraint that you hear on the albums, and to the naysayers I say believe me, this was a metal show and this is a metal band.

Yet, not really.

Typically, in a metal show, there’s a lot of headbanging and moshing. Ghost are really confusing when it comes to what to do with your body while watching them. You kind of just…stare. There is something hypnotic about the costumes and the music. But it’s heavy, so you kinda headbang. Yet, it’s really melodic so you stop to headbang to sing along. Actually, during the song Ritual I saw the greatest thing happen: people were moshing, but really gently. It was like: “I’M ANGRY BUT NOT REALLY. DON’T PUSH TOO HARD I WANNA WATCH”. It looked like what I assume a wrestling match comprised strictly of geriatrics would look like.

The crowd was fantastic though. For a 750 person capacity room, the singalongs through songs like Elizabeth and Year Zero made it sound like you had thousands of people there. For all the criticism by purists unconvinced of the band’s KISS meets Mercyful Fate meets insert 70’s rock band name type of music, the songs simply rock. It works. And I’m not just naming these bands because of the makeup (though there would be something charming about having Papa Emeritus II screaming to the audience “LET’S CALL THE DOCTOR ‘CAUSE I GOT ROCK N ROLL PNEUMONIA” before launching into a cover of Calling Dr. Love)… For all the criticism KISS has gotten as a band, they really did have good songs.

This was all in all a fantastic show, and what do you feel after a fantastic show? The simultaneous feeling of exhaustion and wanting more. That was what I felt after the set. This is a band that I want to see in an arena, when they have a bigger budget and can do things like propel Papa Emeritus II into the air, you know, with fire, explosions and the lot.

And I swear, somewhere during one of the crowd’s many singalongs, I saw Papa Emeritus II smile behind the mask…

EXTREMELY LOW RES PICS: (In a spare and brief review, I would like to express my disappointment with the iPhone 5’s camera. That is all)

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Black Angels Review: Montreal April 12 2013

I wasn’t sold upon my first few listens of the new Black Angels album, Indigo Meadow. My thoughts were certainly influenced by the release of the first single “Don’t Play With Guns”, which I thought at first was quite awful, and a bit of a generic departure for the band.

I decided to listen to the album again, this time without prejudice – and with one major change: I played it really, really loud.

It made all the difference. The Black Angels have 2 members less on this record than the last time I saw them live, and they indeed have streamlined their sound. The atmospherics are no longer in your face. They are in your face if you play it loud, however.

And it was with this that I had the album on repeat and grew to enjoy it more with each listen. My faith in last Friday’s show finally restored, I had a few drinks at Foufounes Electriques with some friends before the show, and got our hazy selves to Le National, where the band was playing.

Arriving in a taxi, the first thing that happened was a Musique Plus camera crew jumped on us asking “Are you Black Angels Fans?”. I answered yes and was then told that they had just interviewed singer Alex Maas, asking him to do a Rorschach Test, and would I be happy to oblige? This way Black Angels fans could compare fan-to-band.

What a crock of shit. I gladly took the piss.

-What’s this to you?
-Gene Simmons’ facepaint.
-And this?
-A woman’s genitals.
-And this?
-Two wolves making out.

My friends joined in as well, that should keep the editing guy busy.

So the show started as another whiskey went down, and man was it exactly what a Black Angels show should finally look like: Big. A big stage, huge projections, big sound. This is a band that deserves to be seen in a large venue, and as they’re going on, the venues are getting bigger, so the future is looking good for band and fans alike.

This last album of theirs has a lot of listeners divided, based on reviews I’ve read. My take? I think these songs were meant to be heard “live”, which explains the sometimes sparse sound of the new record. To hear “Indigo Meadow”, “Evil Things”, “Don’t Play With Guns”, (PS: is it just me or the melody really reminds me of Here Comes The Sun?!) show-opener “I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)” alongside…shall we say, classics? “Young Men Dead”, “Entrance Song”, “You On The Run”, “Telephone” and “Black Grease” worked perfectly with the new material, and the setlist had a fantastic album-to-album balance.

If anything, it’s like the band pulls you through a trip that would range from the evolution of psych between 1965-1969.

A very intense performance – the highlight to me was drummer Stephanie Bailey, who will one day marry me. She’s amazing. A very intense drummer, with a perfect feel and great creativity. Definitely brings personality to the band, and I tip my hat to thee.

It was a visual treat, a near-perfect setlist, a dedicated performance by the band, and exhausting in the very good way that rock shows can make you. Worth the 20$!

LOW RES PICS FOR YA!

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Mudhoney Is Still Awesome

You can subscribe to 2 different philosophies when you see a live show: you can think that it’s all about the music, that the look of the band is not nearly as important. Or you can think of it truly as a show, where the importance is played on providing as much of a visual experience as a musical one (in some cases, you will find it ok to even have the music come secondary to the show itself).

Personally, I dig both.

I remember seeing Mudhoney in this tiny club, not even 2 meters away from the stage. It was a badass rock n roll show. Band and crowd felt like one. The setting was intimate, and for lack of a better word, it felt “real”.

Mudhoney just came out with a pretty remarkable album called “Vanishing Point”, and after 3 or 4 listens, I know that this is an album that will keep growing on me and keep me grinning at Mark Arm’s ongoing rants. The single “I like it small” proves exactly the point of why Mudhoney work so well in a setting that is, indeed, small: they were a band that could have gotten away with much more success than they have had, but they truly instead chose to embrace what they had in a time where living in Seattle was becoming a trend for bands that truly wanted to “make it”.

Perhaps what is great about the current state of music as far as a band like Mudhoney is concerned, is that “making it” does not carry the same weight that it did 20 years ago. They’ve seen all kind of trends come and go and have seen that through not changing a single thread of their identity as a group, their consistency can be seen seen as what it truly means to make it: they can still release the music they want to, they can still tour the types of venue they want, and judging by this new album and having seen them live they are still having a lot of funs in the process.

Their consistent wave of the middle finger to an industry that has changed so much is a fresh reminder of what’s missing in a lot of modern music: attitude. I hate to sound like “rock is dead” etc… Lester Bangs was saying that in 1973 the moment the Stones released Goats Head Soup.
Call me an idealist, but I do believe in the words of Neil Young: “Rock n roll will never die”.

My point is that this album made me realize at what point people are still trying to reinvent the wheel, as far as rock music is concerned. Yet the rock bands that I relate to seem to know that their band is not the first rock band you’ve heard. They wear their influences on their sleeves, with pride to concentrate on something greater than a temporary gain of attention: songwriting.

Mark Arm shall forever remind us of Iggy Pop. That’s cool. We know what Mudhoney sounds like, we know what the Stooges sound like. I think that’s what this new album of theirs made me realize and why I like it so much. I actually listen to what’s being said, I listen to every instrument and that only makes me want to put the record on repeat.

By not changing, Mudhoney is making us care about what they have to say. Give this new record a listen – and pay the 20$ if they come to a town near you.