Bob Mould | Brooklyn Bowl | 12 October 2016
Bob Mould performs with all the urgency of a teenager in a garage band, and all the confidence of a man who’s been at it for over three decades.
Backed by his current band – Superchunk rhythm section Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster – the 55-year-old singer and guitarist tears through 25 songs in 90 minutes, barely pausing to catch his breath.
Kicking off with a trio of Hüsker Dü classics – ‘Flip Your Wig’, ‘Hate Paper Doll’, and ‘I Apologize’ still sounding as fierce as they did 30 years ago – the unstoppable momentum continues with the Sugar one-two knockout punch of ‘A Good Idea’ and ‘Changes’.
With seemingly nowhere left to go, the intensity only ramps up as the trio launch into selections from Mould’s three most recent solo albums. ‘The Descent’, the sole representative of 2012’s ‘Silver Age’, has the frontman bounding across the stage during its instrumental breakdown, while the irrepressible ‘I Don’t Know You Anymore’, fist-pumping ‘Hey Mr Grey’, and relentless ‘Tomorrow Morning’ are a strong showcase for the two-year-old ‘Beauty And Ruin’. But, understandably, it’s this year’s brutally melodic ‘Patch The Sky’ that gets the biggest look-in.
And tracks like the bleak but beautiful ‘The End Of Things’, amped-up rendition of ‘Voices in my Head’, uplifting ‘Hold On’, and feisty ‘Losing Time’ sit very comfortably alongside such touchstones of his back catalogue as a high-octane ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind’, majestic ‘Hoover Dam’, ferocious ‘Something I Learned Today’, swaggering ‘Come Around’, and intense ‘Chartered Trips’.
So it’s no surprise that one of the new album’s standouts, ‘Black Confetti’, is truly up to the task of closing the main set tonight. As Mould thrashes his guitar, Narducy and Wurster create an increasingly thunderous storm around him, building up to an end of days crescendo the band have been working towards all night.
The only way to follow that is the same way they started: with another trio of Hüsker Dü classics (‘Could You Be the One?’, ‘Love Is All Around’, and ‘Makes No Sense at All’) that put the front rows in a frenzy – and a smile on Mould’s face.