Bob Mould: Live Last Night

Live Last Night

Bob Mould's resume shows him to be a Da Vinci of the fringes. "Blowoff" -- a gay-centric series of dance parties he started in D.C., where he now lives -- has become a touring enterprise. Mould also spent time in the 1990s writing scripts for the least socially acceptable form of live theater of our age: pro wrestling.

But most Mould fans, a flock as faithful as any act's, are happiest whenever he ditches the sidelights and gets back to rocking. Mould made a lot of those folks happy with the special show he delivered at the Birchmere last night. The format: Something old, something new, something Sugar, something Husker Du.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

The gig was originally planned as a record release party for Mould's latest solo album, "Life and Times," which officially hit the bins the day of the show. But, as Mould lamented from the stage, in an era of MySpace previews and BitTorrent thievery, release dates don't mean much anymore.

Thus, since this is also the 20-year anniversary of his first solo record, "Workbook," Mould decided to open the night with a long commemoration of that superbly bleak collection, which many Mould devotees still hold dearest.

Strumming an acoustic guitar and backed by an ad hoc duo of cellist Amy Domingues and bass player/electric guitarist Jason Narducy, Mould got things going with cryptic but obviously bitter pills "Wishing Well," "Lonely Afternoon" and "Poison Years," the latter always assumed to be written about the then-recent and super-nasty breakup of the under-celebrated Husker Du.

Mould spewed the money line everybody figured was directed at ex-bandmate Grant Hart -- "I see you swing by your neck on a vine!" -- like the two still have issues. But it was the least scornful fare from that record, "See a Little Light," that best suited the latter-day Mould, a happy, healthy and handsome chap who outwardly has little in common with the 1980s version.

But when Mould invited keyboardist and recent collaborator Rich Morel onstage and launched into a mini-set of fresh cuts from "Life and Times," he showed he can still out-bitter most everybody.

He ended the night on a retrospective note, with what he joked were "a couple hits": "If I Can't Change Your Mind," from his early 1990s days with Sugar, and 1985's "Makes No Sense at All," the power-poppiest Husker Du ever got. Both songs are so great, they'll never seem old.


By J. Freedom du Lac |  April 8, 2009; 12:53 PM ET Live Last Night
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