No disses, no DJs and no drama – just rock. The Los Angeles band Puddle of Mudd, whose current single “Blurry” is a #1 modern rock hit, tore through an hour-long headlining set of blue-collar rock Thursday night at a sold-out Electric Factory. Puddle of Mudd – Wes Scantlin (vocals and guitar), Paul Phillips (guitar), Doug Ardito (bass) and Greg Upchurchperformed on a stage devoid of props or ornate backdrop. Frontman Scantlin wore everyguy clothes: jeans, T-shirt, windbreaker jacket and a reverse baseball cap.
But what the band lacked in show-business dazzle they made up for in verve and intensity. Starting with the crunchy guitar chords of “Out of My Head,” the band delivered a set that had little time for ballads, solos or stage banter. Instead, Scantlin’s impassioned vocals led the way – the singer has a scratchy yet full-throated style of singing that recalls Nirvana’s late frontman, Kurt Cobain.
“His voice is full of feeling,” said Jason Bodycott, 20, of Pitman, New Jersey. “When you hear that voice you know he’s being true.”
Scantlin’s lyrics usually pertain to the dynamics of bad, faulty or abusive relationships. His real-life relationship with his fiancÃ©e, Michelle Rubin, was recently in the spotlight as the couple was arrested after allegedly fighting alongside a California highway. The scene was similar to Puddle of Mudd’s video for their hit “Control”.
Musically, Scantlin’s and Phillips’ guitars continually weaved waves of sound, so as to never let the energy diminish. On “Drift and Die,” Scantlin played a screaming riff to spark the song. On “Piss It All Away,” Scantlin contrasted flamenco-sounding guitar chords with drummer Upchurch’s Middle Eastern-flavored beat in the only non-hard-rock song performed.
The majority of the evening was dedicated to Puddle of Mudd’s album, Come Clean, including the hits “Blurry” and “Control,” which closed the show. Two new songs that they performed, “Abrasive” and “I’m Your Daddy,” were both uptempo rockers.
“They’re a heavy rock band,” said new fan Jennifer Camlin, 21, of West Deptford, New Jersey. “They’re not punk, they’re not heavy metal – I’m going to get the CD.”
“They played hard and had fun,” said Mike Aronson, 24 of Trenton, New Jersey. “They didn’t act like superstars – a lot of new bands act like superstars when they’re not.”
Preceding Puddle of Mudd was the new rap-rock band known as the Trust Company. Demonstrating a fairly combustible, rhythmically taut style of music, the Alabama quartet announced that it will be releasing an album on Geffen in June.
Synthesizer and guitar outfit 30 Seconds to Mars opened the show. The group will be releasing an album in June. Leading the band is Jared Leto, star of the former ABC teen drama “My So-Called Life” and the movie “Requiem for a Dream.” Thursday, Leto seemed to be getting into the role of lead singer, with an angular-cut blond hairdo. He even tossed a drink into the audience.
“He looks like a rock star now,” said a teenage girl in a red 30 Seconds to Mars T-shirt, before darting into the crowd.