Friday, Feb. 17
More than perhaps any other punk musician of his generation, Bob Mould has managed to maintain>"/>
Friday, Feb. 17 Triple Door
Friday, Feb. 17
More than perhaps any other punk musician of his generation, Bob Mould has managed to maintain his artistic relevance in the wake of his early success with Hüsker Dü. Whether via his subsequent rock projects, as a DJ and electronic artist, or as the author of his recent memoir, See a Little Light, Mould has remained at the forefront of our artistic consciousness, something Henry Rollins, Glenn Danzig and John Lydon have been less successful at doing. Only X's John Doe has really managed to come close.
On stage at the Triple Door Friday night, Mould guided showgoers on an abridged tour of his life, moving between playing songs on his teal Stratocaster and reading passages from his book, which he said was a difficult artistic endeavor, like trying to write 150 songs all at once. Mould began his storytelling with life after the breakup of Hüsker Dü, with him and his partner living on a farm in rural Minnesota. The reading set up a batch of songs from his first solo record, Workbook, which Mould said remains one of his favorite works. The readings continued in a similar fashion, chronologically, touching on many of his solo records, his work with Sugar and his foray into electronic music.
Mould was relaxed and comfortable on stage, talking to the audience as if they were a group of friends gathered in his living room. His stories gave the songs added depth as lyrics came into focus and melodies took on added weight with the understanding of what had inspired them. Moving back and forth between reading and playing guitar kept the pace moving, but proved slightly awkward at times as Mould struggled to catch his breath after each set. The bearded 51-year-old was charming and affable throughout, however, and he seemed to be enjoying himself as much as the crowd was enjoying him. He didn't read passages from his book as much as he let them guide specific memories and anecdotes, which he allowed to veer off course when the inspiration struck, like the brief mention of his time writing for professional wrestling. "I thought rock & roll was crazy," he said. "Until I saw that."
Dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt, Mould was open and honest about his relationships, his artistic struggles and his eventual exploration of the gay lifestyle, which he dived into after the dissolution of two back-to-back relationships that lasted twenty years. "Are there any kids here?" he asked, before offering descriptions of a few sub-cultures within the gay community. He concluded the show by playing a few new songs, as well as "Makes No Sense At All," a Hüsker Dü classic from the band's 1985 release Flip Your Wig. It was a rocking way to end things and fans bobbed their heads in time to the song's familiar melody.
When the songs were done, Mould headed to the back of the room to sign books and pose for pictures with fans. Like Mould's life, the show at the Triple Door was an interesting and varied journey. Let's hope Mould isn't out of gas yet, that he'll continue to provide as many twists and turns in his career as it has so far. Perhaps in another thirty years we'll get a second book and another dozen albums to draw on.
BTW: Mould seems to have great memories of Seattle, playing with The Fartz and The Fastbacks early on in Hüsker Dü, and with The Pixies at The Moore years later, hanging out on the roof of the Camlin together after the gig.