Grunge fixed a lot of rock’s problems in the early 1990s. Much as Van Halen led us back from Euro-synth hell in the ’80s, grunge overtook the wimpy pop rock of the day and found a waiting fan base among Gen X listeners. Grunge was a lifestyle statement unto itself, complete with funny clothes and an unfortunate dark side — heroin. It died a sudden, hard death for no particular reason that I could discern. While it lasted, for me grunge was a resurrection of all the sounds and attitudes that were key during my garage/punk/rock adolescence, along with self-deprecating dark humor and supersized power chords in a mashup with heavy metal. What’s not to like?
Of the post-grunge bands, Mayfield is of more than passing interest. A lot of good, solid rock comes out of Australia, and this band is no exception. In the few years that they have been performing, Mayfield has toured Europe and the U.K. aggressively and is now getting around to doing the same in the U.S. There’s not much information available about this band, so I turned to the music press — I was astonished to read what seems like apologies for the simplicity and brevity of their songs. Then there were the comparisons to Nirvana and the Doors. That I can see: Mayfield’s writing is three-chord tight and has that same thrash-and-burn economy of notes and scorched-earth vocals as their grunge forefathers Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.
Late-’80s grunge found traction among the disenfranchised with its return to rock’s basics and an attitude of mockery, rage, and a sort of watchdog eye on the Republican right. Mayfield is in the same pocket. On their MySpace page the band writes, “Mayfield speaks of a generation robbed, a generation lied to, a generation out of faith.” I can relate.
MAYFIELD, Lestat’s, Thursday, May 22, 9 p.m. 619-282-0437.