Monday, October 3rd, 2005

Copper Blue

There’s not too much to be said about Bob Mould’s return to the world of touring rock music that the media hasn’t already covered (and which I haven’t already linked – like this Pulse Of The Twin Cities piece). Sufficed to say that for me, personally, this would be my first time seeing Bob since Sugar played an incredibly improbable show at my university waaaay back in 1994 (it was one of two Canadian shows on the File Under: Easy Listening tour – one in Toronto, one in Waterloo. Whoever was booking shows for the university back then, I still owe you a beer), so I was fairly excited about it.

Even though that Sugar show is eleven years into the past, it’s still the best point of comparison I have for last night’s show. For starters, a lot of the material was the same – Copper Blue formed a pretty large bulk of the set list. True to his word, Mould’s setlist drew on all periods of his career, starting out with Sugar’s fuzzed-out power pop, segueing into his more contemplative recent and late-80s solo material and of course, those Husker Du songs which hadn’t been played in so very long (in Toronto, anyway). When the Huskers portion of the set arrived, it opened not with a rush of punked out fury that some might have expected or hoped, but instead with the Candy Apple Grey dirge, “Hardly Getting Over It”. THEN came the punked out fury as “Could You Be The One” whipped the entire crowd into an instant frenzy.

The crowd was an interesting one – as you might expect, it was definitely an older bunch who had probably grown up with Bob’s music. One fan whom I talked to seemed shocked I’d only seen Bob live once before and never with Husker Du, for which my excuse was that I was in grade school at the time and probably wouldn’t have gotten in the clubs. I still don’t think she was satisfied with that answer. Another guy decided that it would be punk-appropriate to start spitting geysers of beer onto the audience during “Hoover Dam”, to which Bob responded quickly by spraying a mouthful of water right back onto him. He seemed tickled by the gesture.

It was interesting to be able to compare and contrast the different phases of Mould’s musical career all played together like that – though all stylistically distinct, they’re still remarkably consistent. Of course, it helps that they were all delivered at absurdly high volume via Mould’s intense, buzz-saw guitar. Mould himself was also looking impressively lean, fit and quite happy, often wearing a big grin on his face and he playing and moving with an energy that would put many younger artists to shame. He even talked to the crowd – saying “thanks” a few times and introducing the band. Eleven years ago, I think he said “thanks” once, and sullenly at that. His band definitely deserved props – bassist Jason Narducy did a fine job of covering the vocal parts for Grant Hart/Greg Norton/Dave Barbe and locked in super-tight with drummer Brendan Canty, also of Fugazi. If I’ve any complaint, it was that it was SO loud up front that sometimes it would take me a goodly portion of the song before I caught a familiar riff or lyric that allowed me to identify it. I suspect I was in the minority there, though, as most of the crowd roared with approval with each opening note.

Locals Uncut have been opening for Bob on this leg of the tour, with this hometown show being their final stop. Though they’ve been around a while and have some profile, I’ve never heard them before. Like, never. Turns out they’re fairly adept at the heavy rock thing. Couldn’t hear the vocals for shit so I could only judge based on the instrumental end of things, but they were alright. They got some moves and some hair. The could go places.

Back to Mould – I was happy to see the Sugar-era Lake Placid Blue Strat Plus still in action. To get the Huskers-era Ibanez Flying V back into service was probably too much to ask for… and it’s probably either been sold or destroyed by now. And on the souvenier front, I got a shredded pick which Bob threw right in front of me. Sweet. And of course, there’s photos.

Exclaim! has a piece on the wealth of high profile Canadian indie releases coming out this Fall. It’s worth noting that the big board at Soundscapes last night said that the Broken Social Scene record was delayed until next week. Is the big board correct? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be the big board if it wasn’t worthy of the title. We’ll find out tomorrow if and when the anguished cries of the indie kids denied their Broken Social love ring out around town. But they can console themselves with the delayed-from-last-week Metric album. Update: Apparently manufacturing delays have pushed back the release in Canada, but it’s still out tomorrow in the US. Bah.

Quick show announcement – Portland’s Joggers and GoGoGo Airheart are at Sneaky Dee’s November 14. I got an advance copy of The Joggers’ A Cape And A Cane a little while ago and am still formulating thoughts – but I can see these guys getting big regardless of what I think. They’re already getting some buzz, so if you’re all about staying ahead of the cool kid curve, this could be one for your calendar.

One Superman Returns teaser trailer, coming up.

Oh look – the CBC lockout appears to be ending. I’m not surprised – as I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen (which is no one), there was no way the lockout would continue past the start of the NHL season (aka this Wednesday). No way, not with their biggest money maker coming back after a year away. It’s like the garbage strike a few years ago. They suddenly reached an agreement a couple weeks before the Pope arrived for Pope-fest – just enough time to clear the mountains of trash off the streets before the pontiffs and pilgrims (and their pilgrim dollars) came to town.

np – Sea Ray / Stars At Noon

By : Frank Yang at 9:31 am
Category: Uncategorized
RSS Feed for this postNo Responses.
  1. mike says:

    How was the turnout for Bob? The $25 price tag was sort of a turn-off, as I’m really only familiar with his Sugar-era material and I wasn’t sure how much of that he’d perform. Did he perform "If I Can’t Change Your Mind"? I swear, that has to be my favourite song EVER.

    The Posies show is still an if for me; I’m home from work with a cold, but I definitely feel better than yesterday, so I’ll see if I’m up for it later tonight.

  2. Frank says:

    it was an expensive show, but the turnout from where I was – up front – was pretty solid. Enthusiastic, at least. He did play a really aggressive "If I Can’t Change Your Mind" in the encore. There were no acoustic guitars to be seen.

    I am skipping the Posies tonight. Got other plans, but I hear the tour has been good. If you make it it should be solid.

  3. lucaswiththelidoff says:

    I bet there are lots of ringing ears out there today! Thankfully I remembered to bring ear plugs.

  4. solace says:

    i saw Joggers a year or so ago open for Longwave and they were pretty decent. the record that was released last year however didn’t do much for me. have yet to listen to the new one.

  5. graig says:

    what kind of crapsuck Superman trailer was that? It looks just as dull as all the Chris Reeve Superman films. Did they learn nothing from the animated series? As a guy with 3 Superman action figures (and one Supergrover) on his desk at work, I’m highly disappointed, and I blame you.

  6. Frank says:

    I blame me too. Bryan Singer wanted to put in all kinds of action shots and stuff blowing up, and I vetoed him, saying that it’d really piss off Graig if they went all artsy and cerebral. I didn’t even want to put the logo at the end, but got overruled on that.

  7. Karl says:

    Bob likes it loud, don’t he? I have permanent hearing loss from the finale of the Flip Your Wig tour (with opening act Soul Asylum joining in on encores of the MC5’s "Ramblin’ Rose," "Helter Skelter" and — of course — "Love Is All Around"). I’ve never regretted it, either. We drove back to college just listening to our ears ringing for an hour and a half… mine didn’t completely stop ringing for more than a day. That’s loud.

  8. mike says:

    Karl do you really MEAN this: "I have permanent hearing loss from the finale of the Flip Your Wig tour…I’ve never regretted it, either."

    Loud’s one thing. Permanent hearing loss is just scary. Protect your ears.

  9. King Bob says:

    Bob Mould is the coolest gay guy on the planet!!!

  10. Eric says:

    Excellent write up of the show. We were right up front and my ears were ringing for most of the day Monday. So loud, so wonderful. Many of us Mould diehards didn’t think we would ever see this kind of show again. We drove 300 miles to make sure we didn’t miss out.

  11. S. Arnold says:

    I was one of the youngest there… having just gotten into his work around the release of F.U.E.L. when I was still in high school… but the sheer fact that he opened with the first song of his I ever REALLY fell in love with made it all worthwhile.

    And to add to the masses, yeah – my ears were ringing, too – forgot my earplugs. Shows like that should sell ’em at the door… I’d get gouged for a pair when I forget to bring my own…

    Great show, good mix, and Uncut sound VERY different on album (a lot more Joy Division/early New Order than their live set) – their first disc (from last year) is a DEFINITE must-have, IMHO.

    Thanks for the great review… anyone got a full setlist?

  12. thomaus says:

    BSS:BSS with the Ltd. EP is on sale this week at BestBuy for $13 — but they don’t have any discs. I’m pre-ordering (w/free shipping) at http://…/

  13. Frank says:

    re: earplugs. Funnily at the Sugar show in Waterloo back in 94, there were signs posted all over the venue warning of extreme volumes and they were selling earplugs at the door – the only merch they brought, actually. And ironically, it wasn’t really that loud of a show. At Sunday night’s show, they had signs warning of strobe lights but nothing about the volume.

  14. Bobby says:

    Hello – there was a Shopper’s Drug Mart across the street. I bought my ear plugs ($3) minutes before Mould took the stage. I learned from my mistake at a My Bloody Valentine concert years ago (my bloody ears).

    Frank – I was standing almost next to you by the stage for the last 1/3 of the concert. I couldn’t find my pals and tried 3 spots before I realized I needed to be close to Bob.

    Great pics!

  15. Rick K says:

    it’s funny to hear Anyone complain about twenty five dollars to see Bob. I’d easily pay twice that much if he would only come to Las Vegas. I moved here 5 years ago from new jersey and he has yet to perform here. I’m a seasoned veteran, having seen Husker Du in their "Warehouse" Prime, Sugar at City Gardens in New Jersey (yes, the loudest show I’ve ever attended LOL), and precious solo shows at Maxwells in NJ. Now I sit here listening to "Body of Work" over and over and over, praying for more tour dates in 2006 that might finally bring Bob to Las Vegas. Please Please Bob, come to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay .

  16. Rick K says:

    Sorry everyone!! I know it’s BODY OF SONG!! (not "work" LOL ) please excuse my first Blog !

  17. superbrutalbruce says:

    If it’s too loud, your too old. Fuckin’ loud tho’. What was with the disco lighting? That bass player was a talent unto himself, way to go man.

  18. Bobby says:

    Agreed about the $25. I expected a much higher price, and it still was not sold out. It was a very small price to pay considering the shite you’ll see in town for way more.

    Correct me if I’m wrong – I could have sworn there was a tune from Zen Arcade that was played, but I can’t place it. Also I believe there was nothing from FUEL at all – odd, cause there’s some great tunes on that recording. Some just as strong as Copper Blue.

  19. Stone Cold says:

    $25 CANADIAN? Nearly ’59x the Pain’ (of 50 Cents); Fugazi drummer could tell of $5 (American) shows by his boys, but consider the xchg. rate for Bob.

    As far as what-doesn’t-happen-in-Vegas, I drove 500 mi. ea. way slept few hours before heading back to work the next day to see LDAPS in L.A., so I’ll hear no complaints from ye. And Las Vegas? I realize it’s grown, but could he fill a venue there?

    At least, unlike a home in Trenton, it’s in the West. The scenery is nice to drive thru. Otherwise, I liked the typo: ‘Body of Work[book].’ Paging Dr. Freud!

  20. backroads says:

    All this whinging about the noise, you big girls… The London Mean Fiddler show was loud and intensely brilliant. No complaints.

  21. Wolf says:

    Bobby, the song from Zen Arcade was Chartered Trips (at least that’s what he played in London and I loved him for that as it is my favourite song from that album and it came quite unexpected as it is not one of their "classics").

    And yes, I agree, even though ears rang for more than a day, once you’ve been to a My Bloody Valentine gig you can certainly put that loudness thing into perspective.

  22. Bobby says:

    Just re-listened to "Chartered Trips" now. It was that tune Wolf! – I had it in my head on the ride back from the concert. The live version topped the Zen Arcade one for me.

    Here’s a thought: I am crazy about Fugazi, seen them a few times. So having Canty was a thrill. But oddly I didn’t go nuts for him as I thought I would. What I mean was, it seemed so right he was playing with Mould in the more conventional pop stuff. I didn’t even think of him as the drummer for Fugazi.

  23. mac says:

    I saw bob back in 95 acoustic at Avalon in Boston, and that was the loudest acoustic show I have ever seen (how does one’s ears ring from a 12 string??? amp the bejeesus outta it).

    bob played NYC last night, and the show was fantastic, he played chartered trips, so I’m sure that was the

    Toronto Zen song as well.

    I was hoping to hear some old school, old school (of course having been a fan since everything falls apart, I go too far back… I’d kill to hear first of the last calls or deadly skies)

    I would have loved to hear Bob and Jason play Flip your wig, Jason did such a great job on Hoover Dam, I am sure that it would be a killer version

  24. Bobby says:

    I guess we can always wish for what we didn’t get – but we all still are appreciative of what we did!

    Still – must have been a hard choice for Bob. I know he personally loves Copper Blue, but 1 or 2 from FUEL or Hubcap would have rounded out the later-Bob set nicely.

  25. Coolfer says:

    I thought Bob’s NYC show was absolutely brilliant. The new songs come off very well, and the Copper Blue-heavy set didn’t get bogged down in nostalgia. All the songs had energy and vitality and mixed well. "Hardly Getting Over It" was exceptional, as was "Chartered Trips" and "Egooveride." Hard to name just a few since the entire show was so good. It was the first time I had seen him since…I guess about ’98 or ’99. That was a great show, a lot heavier and darker. Copper Blue is a more upbeat record than, say, Black Sheets of Rain, and the shows were markedly different.

    I could have used some more new songs. Body of Song is a great album. Hats off to his band, too. Rich Morel is a great addition.

    After reading these comments and talking to other people who saw Sugar I’d have to say that must have been one of the loudest bands in rock history. I saw them on the Copper Blue tour in ’92 (right?) and it was almost unbearable. Another incredilby loud show I saw at the same venue was, surprisingly enough, Blur on the Leisure tour. People I’ve talked to who saw them on that same tour of the West Coast have also said they were brutally loud.

  26. Are says:

    Agreed on the raves for the NYC show. One of the best performances I’ve seen Bob and a band put on, and I’ve seen every band incarnation he’s had from the Huskers-on. It was nice and loud, but not *that* loud. Even Sugar weren’t *that* loud, compared with, say, Motorhead or Dinosaur. Last time I saw Motorhead my ears were totally toast for two days — and I wore high-quality musicians’ earplugs! J Mascis is usually good for rendering earplugs entirely useless as well, god bless him.

    Bob & his band apparently recorded the DC show for a possible dvd release. That’ll certainly be on my list.