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Review Mon Mar 30 2009

Review: Bob Mould @ Old Town School of Folk Music, 3/29/09

[Submitted by reader Aharona Ament]

Bob Mould (photo by Noah Kalina)

Bob Mould is modern rock legend among few others. Leading Hüsker Dü in the '80s, Sugar in the '90s as well as putting out nine solo albums since 1989, few can compete with Mould's prolific catalog of work. Last night's show at The Old Town School of Folk Music was a musical tour in his extensive career and life.

I was sitting next to one of Bob's friends from D.C. Who kept getting text messages from Mould backstage saying 7:30 sharp! Mould had to get up early the next day for another show so I expected the set to be short and rushed. (The show didn't actually start until 7:50pm.) Keeping these expectations, the set started out fast and one song blended into another as Mould played but barely addressed the crowd.

Mould was accompanied by a prepubescent bass and guitar player, who was adorable in his own right, but failed to match the energy Bob brought to the house. Mould's voice soured and growled in Songs like "Hoover Damn" and "See a Little Light" while the tween bopped along singing backup and matching hooks. There were some joyous moments in his accompaniment when the duo allowed distortion into the set and for a second seemed to have a great dynamic and the ability to play off each other, but they always seemed to lose their chemistry. The show would have held up better if Mould had played alone.

Some insecurities came through when Mould told the audience that he might forget the lyrics or how to play, but was able to compensate for any age related motor skill or memory loss he thought he might be experiencing by playing a soulful mix of acoustic and electric, rhythm and lead; a simplified version of his punk rock for a generation reminiscent of its past.

There was a quick pause as Mould took a moment to promote his new autobiography that is coming out next year (co-written with Michael Azerrad who also wrote "Our Band Could Be Your Life" and "Come as You Are; The Story of Nirvana") and his new album Life and Times which is due out April 7th.

The music picked up right where it left off, but this time Mould put down the acoustic and picked up an electric. No, not the Flying V that he made famous back in his day, but a classic red electric that he ripped to shreds playing "Poison Years" and "Again and Again" — a more recent song from last year's District Line.

"I'm Sorry Baby, but You Can't Stand in My Light Anymore" from Life and Times brought an uneasy somber mood to the theater and there was an uncomfortable feeling as the past felt unvisited for many who wanted a more Hüsker Dü oriented show. Mould was able to bring the crowd back when closing with "Celebrated Summer", a Husker Du classic and encoring with "If I Can't Change Your Mind" (from Sugar's Copper Blue) and "Makes No Sense".

It's an odd experience to see a legend perform live and in such a tiny space like as The Old Town. There's an expectation to hear the classics, but also to explore the future. Mould did an excellent job taking us through his Life and Times piece by piece, song by song. He let us know where he had been and reminded us of where we where along that time and gives us a tiny glimpse into the future.

-Aharona Ament

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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