Grunge godfathers Green River played with their original lineup for the first time in 20 years last night, lacking none of the gut-clenching angst that influenced some of modern rock’s most revered musicians. Featuring members of Pearl Jam (bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard) and Mudhoney (singer Mark Arm and guitarist Steve Turner) plus third guitarist Bruce Fairweather (later of Mother Love Bone and Love Battery) and drummer Alex Vincent, the band pre-headlined SP20, a two-day festival celebrating indie label Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary. It was around dusk at Redmond, Washington’s Marymoor Park when they took the stage; without pause Arm screamed into “Come on Down” and stayed full-throttle for the next 40 minutes.
Though the set was the weekend’s most anticipated, the several thousand in the crowd were initially hesitant. After the first few numbers — and the first crowd surfer, a kid no older than 15 — no further convincing was necessary. Gossard and Fairweather shared a mike for backing vocals and Arm was especially amped, slithering and wailing Iggy Pop-like, his between-song banter littered with inside jokes. For set-closer “Ain’t Nothing to Do,” Vincent abandoned his kit and stage-dove into the crowd. By the time he floated back to the stage, the rest of the band had emerged with boxes of Green River T-shirts that they flung into the audience. On the front it read “Green River: Death on Ten Legs,” and printed on the back in block lettering: “Ride the Fucking Six Pack.”
The Sub Pop anniversary fest also featured an array of acts who’ve been associated with the label over the course of its financially checkered 20-year history, including the Vaselines (who played their first U.S. shows in New York a few days prior), Mudhoney, Iron and Wine, Fleet Foxes, Flight of the Conchords, Foals, Wolf Parade and Les Thugs.
Set List: Green River at SP20
“Come on Down”
“Together We’ll Never”
“Baby Help Me”
“Swallow My Pride”
“Ain’t Nothing to Do”