Saturday, October 01, 2005

Mould Does the Du

The last time I saw Bob Mould, he was touring behind his “Modulate” album, a sort of techno/guitar disc that pissed off a lot of his fanbase (despite the fact that, as my friend Mark points out, it actually resurrects a song from Husker Du’s “Warehouse” sessions). At the Park West, leaving the show, I was waiting for a different friend to come back from the bathroom and I overheard someone complaining – politely – to the guy selling Mould’s merch. The gist was: I’ve seen Bob Mould a number of times, beginning with Husker Du, through his solo stuff, Sugar, “The Dog and Pony Show,” and I was so disappointed to see him running around the stage alone, playing guitar to a drum machine, that I’m never paying to see him ever again.”

I didn’t pay myself, but I sort of felt the same way. I always liked Grant Hart’s songs better, and Mould peaked with the first Sugar album “Copper Blue” and the subsequent “Beaster” EP. After that, he got happy and got completely boring.

So it was with some reservations that I went to see Mould play again, lured only by the novelty of 1) a full band 2) a full band featuring Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and 3) the first time Mould has ever played Husker Du songs with a full band since Husker Du imploded. I don’t regret going, but I can’t imagine ever seeing him again. The new material was bland and forgettable, but as if acknowledging how far he’d strayed from his roots and/or the stuff people love him for, he played a whopping 7 songs from the first Sugar album. Some Husker Du songs, too: “Makes No Sense At All,” “I Apologize,” “Chartered Trips,” “Hardly Getting Over It,” “Could You Be the One” and “Celebrated Summer.” Most were pretty good, but the always-gloomy “Hardly Getting Over It” was even draggier than usual.

After some debate with Mark, we came to conclusion that while we differed on whether Grant Hart wrote the best Husker Du songs, he definitely wrote the best song on each album: “It’s Not Funny Anymore,” “Turn on the News,” “Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill,” “Sorry Somehow” and “You Can Live at Home.” The one exception is “Flip Your Wig,” whose best track is either “Makes No Sense at All” or “Divide and Conquer,” though Hart’s “Green Eyes” and “Flexible Flier” come close. That could explain why it’s probably the best start to finish Husker Du album.

Anyway, the next time I hear Husker Du will be on the albums and the albums alone, perfection forever. It was nice to see Mould sort of recognize that he may never top that stuff, but he didn’t seem to be having a lot of pleasure doing so.

By the way, Mould looked pretty buff, given his gym regiment, but Brendan Canty (seen above) looked from our perch like he had a beer gut and man-boobs. He’s a family man, to be fair, but if Fugazi ever got back together again he really needs to hit the gym, too. That way he’ll be nice and healthy sitting in the tour van, regaling Ian, Guy and Joe with all these stories of nice clubs that Fugazi’s never been able to play.


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