Along The Way – Bob Mould reissue

I kind of missed that, as well as the Sugar reissues, there’s a 3 disc June reissue of Bob Mould’s two solo LPs immediately after Sugar split.

The self titled ‘Bob Mould’ (usually known as ‘Hubcap’) is fairly well regarded in Bob fandom, much more so than his fourth solo LP ‘The Last Dog and Pony Show’.

‘Hubcap’ is supported by five extra tracks, the 3 B-sides from the not released in the UK ‘Egooveride’ but two live tracks Fort Knox, King Solomon and I Hate Alternative Rock again unreleased over here.

The bonus on ‘Last Dog and Pony’ is simply an interview.

The third disc in the set was only ever available from Bob directly, either on the web or at shows. ‘LiveDog98’ was recorded in London and the circumstances surrounding the show are interesting for several reasons.

Firstly it was billed as Bob’s last ever electric tour with a band (see above – can I get my money back?). In fact it was only to be his last electric tour with a band for 7 years.

Secondly, the tour was started as a four piece with extra guitarist Michael Cerveris. Cerveris though was sacked from the tour after the London show.

The initial release of LiveDog didn’t include all 19 tracks but unfortunately that’s not been remedied by this reissue and ‘See A Little Light’ has still to see the light.

Oh yeah, finally, I was there! We took the train to London that morning and I remember it breaking down outside of Chesterfield. There was also a school party around us on the train and one of the teachers was obviously familiar with Bob as when reading his paper he was telling his pupils about that night’s show. We made it, he didn’t (presumably).

And when I came home I wrote this about Bob’s performance …

BOB MOULD London Forum, 29th October 1998

So no Scottish dates on this tour so if Bob won’t come to Scotland, then Scotland must go to Bob. Having recovered from train-lag I feel able to share my thoughts on Bob’s last ever electric show in the U.K. (2012 note – Hah!).

There was no great tease in getting to the stage, rather when on-stage Bob seemed in no great to hurry to start. It turned out it was definitely the calm before the storm. As with Sugar (the only other times that I’ve seen Bob live and electric) the opening salvo contained four songs almost without time to draw a breath.

“Moving Trucks” was great, an effective opener perhaps a shade faster than the album. Then it was straight into “Taking Everything” not my favourite track on the album but in this context pretty blinding. Then a searing “First Drag of the Day”, with the tempo cranked right up. “I Hate Alternative Rock” was the last of the opening volley with its brutal, basic riff just perfect to maintain the momentum. At last a pause before “Stand Guard” kept up the impressive start.

Thereafter things became a bit more mixed. “Classifieds” was pretty average as was “Hear Me Calling”. “Art Crisis” and “Anymore Time Between” were the highlights of the second half of the set, but “Skintrade” was very disappointing and not a patch on the recorded version.

The closing four songs of the main set look great on paper, but disappointed in reality. “Lonely Afternoon” was one casualty of the speed it up approach which worked so well on things like “First Drag … ” whilst “Roll Over & Die” was very lacklustre. “Egooveride” and “Reflecting Pool” worked better but still didn’t set the heather alight in the way the opening songs had.

On the tour board, some people criticised the sound at the venue and this could have been a factor, but then why was it fine at the start and fine for the encores? Ah yes, the encores.

If the spark seemed to be missing in the second half of the set it was back with a vengeance for the encores. “Disappointed”, never my favourite to be honest, was BLISTERING and then “Hanging Tree” was immense.

The band left the stage again but before the feedback from “Hanging Tree” had finished they were back for the feelgood encore, a mighty “See A Little Light”, which unlike “Lonely Afternoon” didn’t suffer from the less subtle approach, and finally “Man In The Moon” which sent chills up this particular spine.

So very fine, but not quite as mind-blowing as we might have hoped. Perhaps a little more instrumental variety would have helped, as I felt that the second guitar probably muddied the waters a bit in the second half of the set.

I’d also forgotten that Bob’s vocal lines live are often different from the recorded versions. This makes spot-the-song fun, you know the words, you know the riff but what the hell is it? (“Hear Me Calling” was only identified the following night with the lyrics in front of me). It’s also a bit funny that the highlights often aren’t the songs that you would expect. Anyway, here’s to the live album, hopefully with some of the songs not aired in London.

Set List

1. Moving Trucks 2. Taking Everything 3. First Drag Of The Day 4. I Hate Alternative Rock 5. Stand Guard 6. Classifieds 7. Hear Me Calling 8. Art Crisis 9. Anymore Time Between 10. Skintrade 11. Eternally Fried 12. Roll Over and Die 13. Lonely Afternoon 14. Ego-override 15. Reflecting Pool

E1 16. Disappointed 17.  Hanging Tree

E2 18. See A Little Light 19. Man In The Moon

 2012 footnote – That last sentence can be explaiend by the fact that there was discussion about the tour being issued as a live record but rather than a compilation of tracks from various shows, in the end the one show was put out in (almost) its entirety.