Of all the performances taking place over the course of the 11-day Tel Aviv Music Festival, none are more highly anticipated than the arrival of Mudhoney, one of the pioneers of the American grunge movement in the 1990s that spawned the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.
While Chris Cornell's Soundgarden-lite concert earlier this year in Tel Aviv left some fans less than flannelized, the foundation of Mudhoney's music hasn't swayed too far over their 21-year career from their original sonic symbiosis of hard rock muscle and garage rock ethics, as fans who attend their October 26th show at the Barby Club will discover.
Born out of the now-legendary Sub Pop Seattle music movement, the quartet, led by Mark Arm and Steve Turner, was the label's first success, paving the way for the other area bands to infiltrate the airwaves through the gaping hole they created in the middle of the early '90s antiseptic, Pro-Tool recording precision era.
Ironically, as in the case with pioneers, Mudhoney was left behind in the big payday, as Nirvana etc. went on to bring grunge to the masses. Despite being signed to major label Reprise, their endearingly sloppy, menacing and funny albums never sold particularly well, being deemed too eccentric for mainstream tastes and, by the end of the decade, they had been dropped from the label.
Since then it's been touring, occasional album releases and a focus on the basics. The liner notes to the 2008 reissue of their late '80s Sub Pop EP Superfuzz Bigmuff perhaps sum up the band's place in rock history best: "For all the play and worldwide attention several Seattle-area bands got during the 1988-92 period, at the end of the day (and even at the time), there was Mudhoney-and then there was everybody else. To me, you, and everyone else paying close attention to underground rock music during those years, Mudhoney still sound like the undisputed kingpins of roaring, surging, fuzzed-out, Punk music."
In addition to the Mudhoney show on Monday, members of the band will also make a rare, intimate appearance on October 27th at The Ozen Bar in Tel Aviv for "Stories from the 'Ear' with Mudhoney," part of the club's monthly series of interactive bull sessions with noted musicians discussing their careers and answering questions from the audience. Tickets are available at 077 2090606, and reservations are strongly recommended as this one will go quickly.