Grand Rapids ska band Mustard Plug makes its way to Mount Pleasant and Rubble’s Bar about once a year.
And the band’s return to the exclusively 21-and-up venue Friday night, 112 W. Michigan St., alongside Lansing band Decades and Mount Pleasant band Ugly Broads, is especially important.
Mustard Plug bassist and keyboard player Rick Johnson said the band comes back to Mount Pleasant because they enjoy playing college towns and bars like Rubble’s.
“More or less, the crowds keep us coming back,” Johnson said. “Rubble’s is a fun club. It is like playing a show in a basement with an old-man bar attached.”
Mustard Plug has played shows at Rubble’s with bands such as Lansing’s Cheap Girls (who are signed to Rise Records and touring the United Kingdom in March with New Jersey punk band The Bouncing Souls), Ithaca punk band Purple Nightmare and Lansing band Jason Alarm, the former band including current Decades guitarist and singer Matt Waterman.
Waterman, a Lansing resident, said Jason Alarm played with Mustard Plug five times, once in Mount Pleasant.
He, like Johnson, enjoys playing college towns such as Mount Pleasant.
“Being a college town, I just feel like there’s a lot of excited people who are fans of the other bands,” Waterman said. “I think they’re more open to new bands that come through.”
He said Mustard Plug shows are happy and lively, both with the band and the crowd.
Waterman and his friends grew up listening to Mustard Plug, and playing with a recognizable band has been a dream for him.
“They were it, man,” Waterman said. “That’s what me and my friends played when we would go skating.”
Andrew Neal, guitarist and singer for local band Ugly Broads, said he hasn’t heard much of Mustard Plug’s music (unlike Waterman), yet said the show will be interesting for its diversity of musical styles.
“Musicians who play bigger shows probably want to play smaller venues like Rubble’s,” Neal said.
He said his band sounds more similar to the Black Keys or The White Stripes but still wants to give the audience a good show, even if his band’s music doesn’t necessarily match the other bands on the bill.
“Mustard Plug is a whole different dynamic than us,” he said. “We’re giving quite a different approach than Mustard Plug.”
Johnson equated the atmosphere of a Mustard Plug show at a place like Rubble’s to a punk rock show in a basement of a house.
“Sometimes when you get to be a certain size of band, you lose the ability to rock in someone’s basement,” he said. “It brings me back to my roots.”
The cover charge for the show is $7, and the music starts at 10 p.m.