Mudhoney/Modern Primitive Il Motore, Montréal QC, September 1
Published Sep 02, 2013Mudhoney coming through usually means a remarkable assembly of older fans who grew up listening to "Superfuzz Bigmuff" and newer fans in TAD t-shirts headbanging to "Touch Me I'm Sick" as if Cameron Crowe's film Singles had just came out.
Bearing that in mind, it felt completely natural to hear people argue about the last time R.E.M. released a good record while Modern Primitive were gearing up. Composed of four dapper young gents from la Capitale Nationale, Modern Primitive are a textbook example of a new generation of bands from Quebec City that's recently been opening loft spaces and releasing 45s, just when every damn group in that town that ever had a bit of courage and talent seemed to have either relocated to Montreal or died off (the Aversions, Mi Amore, etc.).
Incidentally, the Primitive also live up to a few stereotypes that stick to their scene, namely that A) they're 100% French but address the Montreal crowds in English, B) their equipment looks brand new and expensive, C) they look as clean as a whistle and D) they play '90s college rock like it's nobody's business.
Despite the lack of novelty in the grand scheme of things, singer Joey Proteau and drummer Charles Allard (also a member of noise-punk outfit Drogue — with whom Modern Primitive share a split 45) make up for the only true distinctive elements of the quartet. Having already opened for the Men, Metz and the Raveonettes within the last year or so, it will be interesting to see what Brendan Canty of Fugazi will be able to get out of them when he sits in the control room to record their first album.
After the near-capacity crowd went out to recalibrate the level of tetrahydrocannabinol in their system, Mark Arm and his crew hit the stage without homilies or grandiloquent introduction. 25 years into a career that saw them accidentally cash in on the "Seattle sound," Mudhoney are at a point where mass media couldn't care less about what new album they're releasing, unless someone can milk a bit more out of Kurt Cobain's legacy.
And that's more than good news for the fans. Even though Mark Arm, Steve Turner, Dan Peters and ex-Lubricated Goat bass player Guy Maddison do not pack arenas anymore, they're still able to play to a few hundred die-hards willing to pony up 25 bucks to hear the original version of what Ty Segall & co have been putting out recently.
So amidst new numbers from their ninth studio album ( "I Like it Small", "Chardonnay", "Slipping Away" and "I Don't Remember You"), fans were treated to the ageless down-home suspects "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More," "Touch Me I'm Sick" and "Into the Drink," before the group left their amps fuming hot and got offstage, just to come back three minutes later. They thanked the crowd in French and tore into the rest of their classic singles plus the customary "encore connoisseur jukebox tunes": Fang's "Money Will Roll Right In," the Dicks' "Hate the Police" and Black Flag's "Fix Me."