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I last saw proto-grunge doomsayers Mudhoney about six years back at the old Kennel Club (now the Justice League). On the street as I was heading for the show, I met a fresh-faced young woman with ratty hair, rattier clothes, and a freewheeling, whiskey-soaked smile. She was wrapping up a monthlong personal holiday, she said, thumbing her way to Vancouver and her rabble-rousing gig with Greenpeace. She told me how she had scaled corporate monoliths to touch up their window dressing with huge placards that would set the record straight on the companies' crimes against the Earth. On the lam from some legal fallout from the last job back East, this was her final night of furlough before resuming her warrior duties. Overwhelmed and sickened by the planet's decline, she didn't want to get into the toxic details, just to get lost in the loud despair of her all-time favorite rock band. And so we did: As we drank and grinded in the nightclub darkness, Mudhoney's hail of ragged, fuzz-toned melody made it all right to be “Running Loaded” and feel “Flat Out Fucked.” Sole survivors of Seattle's once-inspired grunge trend, the band still espouses the odd value of “Oblivion,” reveling in its niche “Beneath the Valley of the Underdog” on its latest album, Tomorrow Hit Today. I'm sure my Greenpeace pal would cheer their conviction; she really longed to live out Thai fantasies of endless dope and drinks beneath a parasol by the sea.

— Sam Prestianni

Mudhoney appears on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Nebula opens. Tickets are $10; call 522-0333.

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