Puddle of Mudd
Live at the Starland Ballroom November 14, 2008
Photos by Phil Laskowski
Down and dirty with Puddle of Mudd
The hard rockin' band Puddle of Mudd flowed into New Jersey in late November for a concert in Sayreville's Starland Ballroom. Supported by Red, Safetysuit, and Temperedcast, Puddle of Mudd played an almost 90-minute set that mixed a handful of cover songs with most of their classic songs.
For the musical education of the two or three fans who will actually read this story/review of Puddle of Mudd before scrolling down the page to see Dave's On Tour photographer Phil Laskowski's concert photos, I will digress for a moment. The three operative words from my introductory paragraph are "almost," "handful," and "most."
Lesson 1: Whatever happened to headliners playing a two-hour set? What was once mandatory has been replaced by the 60-minute set followed by either a one or two song encore. Why? Concert tickets, parking, and travel expenses to the show aren't exactly cheap. I think that most bands should consider lengthening their sets by two or three songs. Give the fans a little more bang for the buck!
Lesson 2: Original bands cannot play a "handful" of cover songs just like cover bands can't play a handful of original songs. One cover song at each concert is the Dave's On Tour proposed limit. Unless of course the original band is touring to support the dreaded "covers" CD that they just released. During Puddle of Mudd's set, singer Wes Scantlin spent a few minutes discussing the pros and cons of covering AC/DC's "T.N.T." with a very vocal and very adamant fan up in front. Banter between any lead singer and his audience is fine, yet another song could have been played during that five-minute interlude. Thankfully, no Nirvana or Black Sabbath fans protested Puddle of Mudd's take on Nirvana's "Breed" or Black Sabbath's "War Pigs."
Lesson 3: Bands with extensive back catalogs are challenged squeezing all of the hits into their setlist. Casual fans expect all of the hits, yet the die-hard fans are always hoping for an obscure song or two. The Dave's on Tour opinion is that bands should include MOST of their classic material. That would be less of a challenge if bands adhered to lessons one and two by playing less covers and by yapping less between songs, especially if the set clocks in at less than 90 minutes.
Despite my issues outlined above, Puddle of Mudd impressed me with their performance. Wes Scantlin's voice was in fine form, and he played solid guitars. Plural. Wes seemed to change guitars with every song. From my vantage point, I couldn't tell if lead guitarist Christian Stone changed instruments as often as Wes, but his leads and solos were very tasty. I really enjoy this band's rhythm section of Ryan Yerdon on drums and Doug Ardito on bass guitar. My favorite album, "Come Clean," was well-represented with songs that I'll pick as the show's highlights: "Control," "Blurry," "Drift and Die," "Out of My Head," and "She Hates Me."
I missed all of Safetysuit's set and most of Red's because I was hanging out with the guys from Temperedcast. Before the show started, in the cozy confines of a Starland Ballroom coat room, I interviewed one of Seattle's best kept secrets. Don't forget to check out the interview that Temperedcast did for the "5 and Dime" section at Dave's On Tour. Click here to see Temperedcast live.
Temperedcast is a metal band from the city that put grunge music on the map. Their too-short set was highly energetic, and the band showcased material from their latest release "Reach." They whipped the crowd into a frenzy and should have been the band that preceded the headliner instead of the evening's opening act. As much as I enjoyed their onstage performance, their offstage persona impressed me even more. Every band out there talks about trying to build their audience and how they need to connect with people on a personal level. Yet too many bands play their set, only to run and hide after they're done playing. Temperedcast hawked and signed their merchandise after their set. They shook hands and talked to anybody who would listen. They were outside the venue after the night ended still trying to sell more CDs. Temperedcast talks the talk and walks the walk while too many independent bands take another route. Many roads diverge along the rock and roll highway, and Temperedcast takes the road least traveled. There's no short-cuts when that road is taken, it's much bumpier, yet the rewards are greater. Happy travels Temperedcast and hurry back soon!