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Monday, May 2, 2011

Friday Night: Mudhoney, Hank IV, and Little Queenie Deafen the New Parish

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2011 at 6:49 AM

click to enlarge Mudhoney - ROMANA MACHADO
  • Romana Machado
  • Mudhoney

Mudhoney
Hank IV
Little Queenie
April 29, 2011
@ The New Parish, Oakland


Better than: Shrooming through a Steven Seagal double feature.

the New Parish, a downtown Oakland venue that looked scarcely big enough to contain the forthcoming detonation. The staff was smoothly professional, the P.A. betrayed above-average acoustics, and the floor was filled to about half capacity by 9:30. The crowd seemed like all paunch and gleaming skulls from the back, but my photographer soon found the front of the stage, where the ladies were, and visual prospects brightened considerably.

click to enlarge Little Queenie - ROMANA MACHADO
  • Romana Machado
  • Little Queenie

The wait was short for Little Queenie. A supergroup composed of members of Battleship, the Gris-Gris, and others, LQ's raging, bass-heavy geek punk detonated in a spot two feet above the heads of the guys in back, which bobbed respectfully in placid wonderment. Up front, the gals were raging and pushing already, squealing through one stammering cannonade after another. My girl and I were just screening Elvis Costello's 1978 turn on Saturday Night Live, and there's something of Little E's spastic charm in mainman Mark Murrmann. Closing applause was magnified by the venue's close quarters into an ear-bending din.

click to enlarge Hank IV - ROMANA MACHADO
  • Romana Machado
  • Hank IV

Between sets we ran into noise impresario Parker T. Gibbs, who hailed me as a genius from across the room before sidling up for some high-ballyhoo about the next act. Hank IV frontman Bob McDonald, he swore, was a mere shavetail kid whose paunch and grave bearing were the result of a tragic glandular condition. Hank IV's reputation as one of the West Coast's most manic punk-rock acts long preceded it. A sonic grenade like "Garbage Star" is less the traditional leather-lunged manifesto at a shit-clotted world and more an attempt to annihilate it through sheer howling. McDonald is a sweatsoaked marvel akin to watching a congressman whooping and shoving out his belly like a manic toddler. At once the kids up front started bounding up and down, and the fanboys in back looked credibly impressed, then overwhelmed. Awesome in its own right, Hank IV was, and a fine bonus to the cult just then packing it to the walls for the headliners. Audience response was vociferous and the crowd looked like it could've handled a half-hour more.

click to enlarge Mudhoney - ROMANA MACHADO
  • Romana Machado
  • Mudhoney
No one needs to credit any media-cheffed grunge revival to realize Mudhoney is an idea whose time has come again. Its contemplative sludge rock was one of many memorable products of the general revulsion against Reaganism entrenched across the cultural landscape by the late '80s, and things are scarcely any more optimistic these days. Indeed, the people welded into one frantic monkeymass before the tiny stage didn't look to be jumping and screaming out of nostalgia for yesterday's dim prospects. The band laid into a career-spanning summation for close to an a hour and a half, coming back for four encores before ending it all in a brutally effective assault on Black Flag's oft-covered "Fix Me." It was just after 1 a.m., and the silence that then set upon downtown Oakland was nearly loud enough to shatter your fucking skull. 


One Drink Maximum:
Parish Punch, made from ginger limeade and white rum, priced at six bucks. My photographer rated it "strong and delicious."

Mudhoney Setlist:

You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)
Suck You Dry
Inside Job
This Gift
Into The Drink
F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers)
Hard-On for War
When Tomorrow Hits
In 'N' Out of Grace
Sweet Young Thing (Ain't Sweet No More)
Let It Slide
Judgment, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
No One Has
Good Enough
Touch Me I'm Sick
The Open Mind
The Lucky Ones
Next Time
I'm Now
Tales of Terror

Encores:
Sonic Infusion
Blinding Sun
Who You Drivin' Now?
Hate The Police
Fix Me (Black Flag cover)

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Ron Garmon

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