I waited a very long time to see The Mummies and the special brand of trashy rock n roll that only this legendary garage band can deliver. I missed them several time over the years for various reasons and figured I was set and ready to go once I got a ticket for their 2020 show only to have that ruined by you-know-what. So flash forward to April 2022 and finally, finally it happened and I caught the first of their two night run in NYC (the second show was a day later at Elsewhere). While I would have preferred to see them much sooner, the wait was worth it and they delivered all the sleazy rock n roll debauchery my heart could have possibly desired.
The self described Kings of Budget Rock first emerged from their ancient sarcophagus in the late 80s and rose to become titans of the West Coast garage scene. They haven’t played as much in recent years, and haven’t released a full length since 2003, but they still bring it hard and played a rapid fire set full of rippers from their classic lo-fi catalog, throwing themselves—and the Farfisa—around all through the performance. The was set no bullshit, one song right after the other and no encore. Towards the end they asked “aren’t you tired of us yet?” and then asked the photographers up front “haven’t you guys run out of film yet?” (clearly these bandage clad boys have been in their crypts for too long). The fans absolutely would have had them play another whole set if it were up to them, and certainly yelled for more after the last song, but they wrapped up with “Shut Yer Mouth” and that was that. A fitting end for the entire ethos of the band really and also a major standout for me because it’s one of my favorite Mummies songs. Other big highlights were “Your Ass (My Face),” and “Dog Meat” which they introduced by asking “any animal lovers here?” (The only song I really wanted that they didn’t play was “Sooprize Package for Mr. Mineo,” a long time favorite from 1992’s Never Been Caught.)
The Mummies famously eschewed recording with much more than primitive equipment throughout their career, and that lack of giving a fuck about what is current has followed them up to the present day as they most definitely do not do social media, or have any music on any streaming platforms. They do however have a website that is up to date which has a complete discography listed on it (something I struggled to find for a while), along with quite a bit of archival material including numerous flyers from the late 80s and early 90s. As with all things Mummies, of course it is just as snarky and self deprecating as their lyrics are with plenty of sardonic sass to go around. Their “About” section reads “The Mummies were a stupid band. This is their stupid Website. You cared about them enough to get this far. Now you are stupid too. That’s the Mummies’ curse,” and a recent sold out show being labeled with “you wouldn’t have liked it anyway.”
The show was opened by Philly garage act, The Out-Sect, who put on a fun and energetic set; you could definitely hear the influence of the Mummies and garage acts of the past in their music for a nice full circle feeling. Synth art/post punks Empath hit the middle spot and this is the first time I’ve really gotten to hone in on one of their sets. They played a festival I was shooting in 2019 but so much was going on, I unfortunately didn’t get to really watch them, so it was nice to finally see them and experience them full on. I was particularly captivated by Garrett Koloski’s drumming and fast hands that made for busy, explosive fills with wind chimes in place of a rack tom to top it all off, a very big added bonus to an already exciting night.
When shit has you feeling down, sometimes the exact pick me up you need is a night of getting yelled at by the undead to breathe a little life back into you.
Scroll down for more pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)