“Dublin disco punks Munky (not the Korn fella James Shaffer I night add) are second on the bill (Noses did start the evening but I unfortunately missed them due to traffic). It’s a far cry from the Meat Puppet’s sound, quite poppy and indie, but the odd song is catchy for the currently scattered crowd like the cleverly titled ‘Ms Communication’ “We don’t wanna talk about it/We just wanna get fucked”.
Between bands the merch stand has more than the usual merch stand… MP bassist Cris Kirkwood also doubles as a talented doodler, and his original doodles and prints are available here for sale. They are a mad assortment of pinks, yellows and every colour in between and sum up some of the MP jams onto a piece of paper, as if Nickelodeon characters were on LSD and captured in time. Highly recommend you take a look at his work, but maybe don’t try and understand it!
By the time the Meat Puppets take to the Brude stage it’s rammed. There’s a nice mix of young to old here showing their appeal, be whether you discovered them via the Nirvana MTV Unplugged session (my first ‘proper’ cassette as a youth, not counting New Kids on the Block thank you). There are sound issues at the beginning with drummer Derrick Bostrum needing some monitor input and the feedback resulting in Curt Kirkwood saying “just turn these damn things off” and brother Cris Kirkwood fiddling with his bass pedals for a while. Curt’s son and Cris’ nephew Elmo plays rhythm guitar and Rob Stabinsky is the key master.
There’s no time at all until the band crack into their crazy cow punk riff twiddlings and soft vocals interspersed with sprawling wild jams that rein themselves in and then return to the wild a few times before the end of a song. Not only does Elmo back up his dad’s neat finger work with guitar groundings his Uncle Cris lays down a fat bass line for every tune that doesn’t anything but stay penned in. Rob is smiling throughout on two keyboards which get the odd solo within jams, and having original drummer Derrick Bostrum back gives the band its fast punky edge when it needs it, again coming through in the epic jams awaiting at the end of most tracks.
Of course the band play the Unplugged tracks ‘Lake of Fire’ and ‘Plateau’ but with the original gusto they had before that recording. The haunting ‘Oh Me’ is played a little faster and bulked up than they or Nirvana played it, those smashing chords still coming through. It may be my new favourite version, and the old one was my favourite to start with. Of course though, ‘Lost’ is the winner due to its manic sense in the music and lyrics, a tune to get anyone out of a rut when driving and getting lost.
‘Up on the Sun’ is an example of fast finger work riffage. A lot of the songs cascade into a jam where no one seems to be in control but then an instrument will appear out of the delic fog and disappear back into it again to allow another one to appear.
The set ends with the chuggy MTV classic ‘Backwater’ from ‘Too High to Die’. There’s a satisfied crowd here, and a satisfied reviewer. The original Meat Puppets plus some is back. Go check out new album ‘Dusty Chords’.