Bob Mould destroyed me, yet again.
Old Rock House, St. Louis
How do you write a review—one you knew before the show, even—was going to be a glowing review? This is what I struggle with when I have to write these up. Bob Mould destroyed me, yet again. His current lineup is now his longest to date since Hüsker Dü…and what a lineup it is. Jon Wurster is just a beast on drums, just on point and thunderous. Jason Narducy is a fantastic bassist and fun as hell to watch live, especially at this show. Through the night, Mould and Narducy seemed to have a game going of who could crack each other up the most. It shows that, as a unit, they have gelled very well, and it showed they were having fun. And that all made for just an outstanding performance.
Mould was in a particular giddy mood. I’ve seen him multiple times live and his chit chat is normally the barest of minimums, as he gets on stage and is all business. He seemed to be in a very joyous mood tonight, grinning and laughing through the set.
It must be hard for them to pick a set list, considering Mould has 21 LPs and two massive EPs to choose from. Their set included 8.25 Hüsker Dü songs (I’ll explain the 0.25 later), five Sugar songs, and the rest a mix from his last three solo records. As nice as it would be to hear songs from his solo albums of the ’90s, I have zero complaints about this set list; the fact that we got eight Hüsker songs blows me away.
Mould & Co. took the stage and immediately launched into the music, only taking time to greet the audience when they needed to tune or take a very short breather. Both Narducy and Mould used up the stage when playing, stomping around, moving, and generally having a good time jamming. Having the luck of being right up front and center, I got to see both play up close. I’ve always known Mould to be an excellent guitarist, but there were times I had no idea how he was able to do some of what he was doing; his hands moved with an almost preternatural speed. Several times I looked at Jason Green, fellow PLAYBACK:stl contributor, Comic Editor, and partner in crime in all things Mould, and we were at a loss for words. Just from a glimpse of the people around us, we saw everyone was smiling, singing along, and in that same state of utter enjoyment.
Highlights of the set were “A Good Idea,” “The Descent,” “Hoover Dam,” “No Reservations,” “Tomorrow Morning,” “Something I Learned Today,” “Chartered Trips,” “Black Confetti” (which had an incredible extended jam at the end), and the two closers, “Celebrated Summer” and “Makes No Sense at All.”
The only small issue with the night was a technical one. They didn’t leave the stage to de an encore; they just kind of took a few minutes while Mould’s guitar was re-tuned after “Black Confetti” and then dove right into “Hardly Getting Over It.” Before starting, Mould said something might be broken; he had trouble through the song and cut it short after the first verse and as he immediately launched into “The War.” It was a little odd at first, but having the vantage point of being up close, I saw he was noticeably upset about it, as something in the sound to him wasn’t right. For rest of the encore, he seemed…concerned about it. I didn’t hear anything wrong, but by that point my ears were fried even with good earplugs. Jason pointed out that both songs were about death but from opposite sides and made for a great pairing, so that was a damn great recovery.
Minneapolis trio Fury Things got us off and rolling. A young and damn great punk band in the vein of Dinosaur Jr., this is a group to watch out for; they sounded fantastic and were fun to watch. Their drummer is another one who is just an absolute monster on stage, beating his kit within an inch of its life, but never sounding clunky or heavy handed. I look forward to hearing more from these guys. | Mike Koehler
Photo by Doug Tull; view full photo album here