Bob Mould has had a bit of a career renaissance in the last couple of years, having released his autobiography See A Little Light, having a tribute show in his honor, and releasing the acclaimed album Silver Age. Silver Age has put Mould on such a roll that the tour supporting the 2012 album has stretched into this year, nearly a year after its release.
And that’s what brought Mould to the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas on August 16, 2013, with his band of bassist Jason Narducy (also of Split Single) and drummer Jon Wurster (also of Superchunk). It was Mould’s first appearance at the Bottleneck since playing there with his band Sugar in 1992. And that’s where Mould picked it back up Friday night, starting the show with a five-song blast from Sugar’s debut Copper Blue, arguably Mould’s greatest post-Hüsker Dü album. “The Act We Act” is the perfect opener, with Mould kicking it off with a guitar riff before the rest of the band joins him, creating the cacophony of noise and melody that’s a trademark of Mould’s music. This was followed, just like on Copper Blue, by “A Good Idea,” “Changes,” “Helpless,” and “Hoover Dam,” with hardly a breath in between.
It was a cool night in Lawrence, but inside the Bottleneck the temperatures were much hotter!
It was a cool night in Lawrence, but inside the Bottleneck the temperatures were much hotter – Bob’s glasses even had condensation on them for much of the show – and Mould and his band kept the heat coming with several frenetic cuts from Silver Age, including “Star Machine” and “The Descent.” Silver Age was heralded as Mould’s return to loud guitar pop and even though the same claim was also made to some degree about Mould’s previous three solo albums, this time it really was true. Mould’s songs on Silver Age blend perfectly with his best past work, with little if any drop in quality when placed next to songs from his bands Hüsker Dü and Sugar, which says a lot since both were among the best in their respective eras. To the delight of the crowd, Mould played some Hüsker Dü, including the transcendent “Celebrated Summer” and “Something I Learned Today” and “Chartered Trips,” two cuts from 1984’s Zen Arcade.
Despite the heat, Mould seemed to enjoy every moment, seemingly taking the lyric “You can’t get this feeling anywhere but here, right here, right now” from his song “Keep Believing” to heart. Hopefully Mould keeps that feeling going to 2014 and beyond.