The Heads fuse a rhythmic, pounding and distorted barrage of psychedelia and garage rock into a calculated layering of sound-wave upon sound-wave. With shards of indie punk, a smattering of post-rock and a nod to British beat groups, The Heads are your archetypal British psych-noiseniks, destined to play to a handful of believers for the rest of their days. And you know what, they probably don't care whether they are playing in a garage or a medium sized theatre supporting Mudhoney. The Heads are rather clinical, precise, mathematical and perhaps anal about their delivery. But have they forgotten something? I dare say they have. The Heads look more like an assortment of grown up teenagers than a real band that means it, man. Remember the serious metal kids at school who practiced most evenings in the common room? We have the faceless one, with a mop of hair that curiously covers his whole face. How he hits the strings I don't know. The skinny nerd on the other side of the stage could be the bastard love child of John Denver and Thom Yorke. I kid you not. Standing almost as still as an RAF drill sergeant, the guitarist and occasional "singer" (the sound is largely instrumental bar a few mumblings here and there) is the antithesis of your typical rock n roll front man. Instead, the moves and shakes and left to the bass player, who they position in the middle. Probably to give some balance and take your mind of the other two. Gyrating to his bass and throwing looks of passion, this is the one who wants to "make it" and tries his best to make up for the rockstar shortcomings of the others. The Heads continue their rythmical drone which, with eyes closed, is a novel experience. Stage persona and attitude may seem academic, but if it's the whole theatrical package that turns you on, leave The Heads live experience to the nerdy-math rock faithful and listen to the record back home, reclining with some headphones and more than likely, you will enter the dream-space intended by these fuzzy warblers.
Mudhoney by contrast, bounce on stage and immediately slink into the low slung unpretentious hip-ness that only a Seattle band of the early 90's can. Once thrown into that whole scene that started with a "G" and shared with Nirvana, Tad and Soundgarden, Mudhoney had little in common - as did any - other than guitars, plaid shirts and the same home town. Oh and the Sub Pop Label. A dose of early Ramones simplicity and naivety together with Nuggets and Pebbles era pre-punk psych-fuzz garage-blues super fuzz and Mudhoney's genre defining sound became a blueprint which other built on, expanded and layered. But tonight we have the originals and singer and sometime guitarist Mark Arm is bouncing around the stage like a chicken possessed. All angular limbs and a flail of dirty soul vocals and the audience are already inching over to the barrier trying to touch the Seattle scene veteran. It's not long till the hits start rolling in - and not far into the set, they deliver their signature song, "Touch Me I'm Sick" at breakneck pace, with Arm on slide guitar adding a metallic zest to proceedings. Arm tells the 30-something grown up indie rock kids to mind how they go, as a bout of slamming and good natured volley of crowd surfers ensue. Mudhoney sound and look just as good as they ever did and move like a well oiled machine. Going through the motions ain't for this lot.
Photos: Al De Perez