Performance at Slim's Drags in the Mudd

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Mudd Performance
Zachary laments Puddle of Mudd’s lack of cha...

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Puddle of Mudd played at Slim's this Monday, and it was hard to come away from the show without feeling ambivalent. On the one hand, it was about as boring as a rock show can get. I spent most of the evening staring longingly at the bar, cursing the under-21 stamps on my hands. There's not enough alcohol in the world to make Mudd's dreary guitar-farts interesting, but I figured that, had I not been constrained by my journalistic integrity and a bartender who looked capable of crushing my skull between his thumb and forefinger, I might have been able to drink myself into merciful indifference.Eventually, I discovered a comparatively entertaining beer stain on the floor, but that still wasn't enough to salvage things. In short, Puddle of Mudd suck live, and they don't even have the decency to suck interestingly.

On the other hand, it's futile to hate on a band like Puddle of Mudd. Their influence has been carved into the edifice of modern rock, and no amount of critical venom will burn it off. They aren't even fun to hate, because no one in the band is an obvious douchebag. At Slim's, despite demonstrating a general lack of charisma, the guys seemed amiable enough and they were gracious as hell towards their die-hard knot of fans in the front. Bashing them feels both useless and excessive.

But damn it, they sucked! You can't not bash a show like this, impotent as the bashing might ultimately be. To begin with, Puddle of Mudd are generally classified as neo-grunge, which apparently means exactly nothing. Nirvana are supposed to be the prototypical grunge band, but if the Slim's set is at all representational, not a single Puddle of Mudd song has been influenced by Nevermind or even Bleach. Therefore, in defense of Nirvana's stained honor, I'm going to invent a new genre. Mudd are Porridge Rock, which means that they're gray, bland and homogenous.

On Monday all the elements of the music-tedious drums, hookless guitar, constipated vocals-sounded "low in the mix." That doesn't mean that it was quiet, it means that nothing asserted itself.

Every sound on the stage was smushed together with every other sound, forming a squishy, gruel-like mass. This can't be attributed to low energy on the part of the performers. They headbanged and threw up the horns, desperately trying to convince us that rock and roll was happening. No one was fooled, aside from that thin layer of enthusiasts near the stage. Everyone just shuffled around, as if faintly annoyed by what was coming from the stage.

Maybe it's not worth getting worked up about bands like Puddle of Mudd. Sure, they're bad and their show sucked, but it's not like they prevent good music from existing. All taste is subjective, kumbaya and so forth.

Still, there's something profoundly worrisome about this band, and what they might come to represent. When the inevitably reductive history of this decade is written, is this the type of guitar music that our generation will be remembered for liking?

There's still some life left in rock 'n' roll, but isn't it possible that the good guitar bands-your Hold Steadies, Wolf Parades, even your DragonForces-will be overwhelmed in the annals? After all, bands like Puddle of Mudd sold more records, and they definitely had more influence on the culture. Will Porridge Rock be seen as the culmination of the project that the Who and Zeppelin began? Can we all agree that would be incredibly depressing?

Be entertained by beer stains with Zachary at [email protected]

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