Mudhoney: Live in Berlin, 1988

I’m the first to admit that I was late to the Mudhoney party. Sure, I’d heard the name bandied around discussions of alt-rock and grunge, but I’d never really paid much attention to them. That all changed when, on a whim, I accompanied a friend to see them play The Tunnels – a small, sweaty (literally) underground venue – in the heart of Aberdeen. The atmosphere was electric: there were so many people crammed into the room that no-one should have been able to move...but everyone did, en masse, bouncing vigorously along to the music. I was hooked.

Having listened to Mudhoney albums since, I can verify that they are also brilliant on record. But there’s something missing, that special live element that many bands have, that can get lost amidst the recording process. Thankfully, I can now relive that live experience in my living room watching Mudhoney: Live in Berlin, 1988.

It’s fair to say that the DVD presents a realistic portrayal of a Mudhoney gig: there are no frills, just the band on a stage playing their songs. It’s all there: the frenetic, passionate music; the awkward stage banter; the inevitable technical difficulties. There’s no fancy editing to detract from the spectacle of the music itself.

Filmed in the German capital, the DVD boasts a wealth of material from seminal (but at the time unreleased) record Superfuzz Bigmuff. Opener No One Has sets the tone for the rest of the show, with Mark Arm’s guttural screams and frantic guitar work standing strong alongside guitarist Matt Lukin and the powerhouse rhythm section, comprising of Steve Turner and Dan Peters. Elsewhere, Touch Me I’m Sick is electrifying and Chain That Door is suitably spiky. It’s commendable that, when halfway through the gig an amp blows and has to be repaired, the footage remains intact: while most bands would slickly edit the mishap out, it is here included to provide an all-round live show experience.

In terms of bonus features, an interview with Mark Arm provides an interesting insight into the genesis of the band and their first tour. Speaking candidly about the state of the music scene in the America he and his bandmates grew up in, it’s a fascinating watch and adds nicely to the overall package.

All in all, this DVD is a vital piece of Mudhoney history neatly contained on one shiny plastic disc. For completists and newcomers alike, it provides an insight into the band’s formative period and their first overseas gig that should most definitely not be overlooked.

Mudhoney: Live in Berlin, 1988 is out now via !K7 Records.


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