That’s Showbiz – Bob Mould live

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Bob Mould Band / North Atlantic Oscillation – Oran Mor, Gasgow – Saturday 18th May 2013

Bob Mould’s visits to Scotland have been very infrequent for the best part of two decaded with yesterday’s show at Oran Mor just his fourth in 28 years by my reckoning.

Soit was nice to see the increased interest from the not quite full show at the ABC2 a few years ago to this one selling out a few days in advance.

Certainly the Sugar reissues and the subsequent ‘Silver Age’ have increased his commercial profile and reminded people of his existence but the same period also seems to have reinvigorated Bob musically. Certainly the current live line-up (Jason Narducy on bass and Jon Wurster on drums) is the best band Bob has played with since Sugar.

For all that even UK shows aren’t that frequent, there’s an air of familiarity about much of the set for this veteran. ‘Copper Blue’ has featured significantly since the ‘Body of Song’ shows eight years ago and some of the HD songs have become staples in recent years.

Now when the material is as brilliant as that, it’s never a hardship to hear but there were a few nice additions to the set from last year’s London show.

Best of those undoubtedly was ‘Come Around’ from ‘Beaster’, a record that Bob rarely revisits. But older HD songs like ‘Flip Your Wig’, ‘Something I Learned Today’ and a particularly blazing ‘In A Free Land’ added a nice touch of variety to proceedings.

In such exalted company, the ‘Silver Age’ stood up well. Neither ‘Steam of Hercules’ nor set-closer ‘Keep Believing’ featured in last year’s set but both more than held their own with the looped guitar from the latter spanning the gap effectively between the band departing the stage and returning for the encore .

We also had the rare sight of a Bob technical problem with his guitar amp gradually dropping out with increasing frequency during ‘Hoover Dam’ before cutting out completely before the song ended.

The only disappointment was the relatively short set, a couple short of last year’s London show. Perhaps the band arrived late, certainly I didn’t expect to hear them still soundchecking when we arrived for a drink beforehand at around 6:20. But another encore would have been nice.

Support came from North Atlantic Oscillation, who at times reminded me of a straighter Mercury Rev. I probably really enjoyed half of their set but the other half seemed a little nebulous.

They didn’t seem to be having the greatest time either with the singer/guitarist seemingly unhappy about something for the first few songs. In the end probably a scored draw.

PS I’m starting to think that I need a word with Mr Mould about his scheduling. Certainly after missing the Grand Gestures LP launch last year, it was hugely disappointing to have to miss the Book Group E.P. launch on Saturday due to a another clash.

Setlist

1. The Act We Act  2. A Good Idea  3. Changes  4. Helpless  5. Hoover Dam  6. Star Machine  7. The Descent  8. Round The City Square  9. Steam of Hercules  10. Come Around  11.  Your Favorite Thing  12. Could You Be The One? 13. I Apologize 14. Chartered Trips  15. Keep Believing

Encore

16. If I Can’t Change Your Mind  17. Flip Your Wig  18. Something I Learned Today  19. In A Free Land

3 Comments

  1. I think there may have been more Scottish shows since the Du ones than you reckon – was there a Scottish show for Body of Song? I can’t remember where that was (maybe I was away) but there was an ABC2 5 years ago, sound was rotten. Before that, Sugar at the Barras (FUEL, probably), Beaster at Edinburgh Venue (and maybe Tuts same tour)… not sure if he did a tour at Copper Blue time, probably did that small venue tour on the back of the hit single / album!
    But there was at least one before that, solo at the Sub Club. I suspect that this was one you missed, so I’ll not go on about how good it was…

  2. Paul Hilcoff listed the Scottish HD related shows on Facebook this morning so I’ll copy and paste:

    14 Mar 86 Edinburgh: Potterrow (Hüsker)
    15 Mar 86 Aberdeen: Victoria Hotel (Hüsker)
    16 Mar 86 Glasgow: Mayfair (Hüsker)
    19 Jun 90 Edinburgh: Calton Studios (Nova Mob)
    20 Jun 90 Glasgow: College of Technology (Nova Mob)
    01 Dec 91 Glasgow: Sub Club (Bob)
    04 Oct 92 Edinburgh: The Venue (Sugar)
    05 Oct 92 Glasgow: Mayfair (Sugar)
    13 Sep 94 Glasgow: King Tut’s (Nova Mob)
    29 Sep 94 Glasgow: Barrowland (Sugar)
    26 Jan 06 Glasgow: ABC (Bob)
    24 Jun 06 Edinburgh: Liquid Room (Bob)
    23 May 08 Glasgow: ABC (Bob Mould Band)
    30 Nov 11 Glasgow: Mono (Grant)
    18 May 13 Glasgow: Òran Mór (Bob Mould Band)

    Don’t think there’s anything missing.

    The Venue and Mayfair shows were both promoting Copper Blue but featured some of (but predated) Beaster. (Probably the songs on the Cabaret Metro live set) Identical sets other than the Venue had JC Auto as the final encore but Mayfair didn’t. Sound was better in Glasgow though.

    The Barras was to promote FUEL. I missed it as I was ill that year.

    The first ABC2 show was solo, the 2nd with the 4 piece band (I think it was one of Wurster’s early shows as drummer) but it was to promote District Line rather than Body of Song.

    We saw the BOS show in London with Brendan Canty drumming. It might well have been the only UK show, although Paul will know.

    The Liquid Room was the best solo Bob show I’ve seen (although it wasn’t busy):

    http://www.mmmm.eclipse.co.uk/live/bobmould_240606.htm

    Need to rescue the shots from that show as the originals were lost in a hard disk crash. Also have a bootleg from my MD of that night which is pretty good.

    There was supposed to be a Scottish date around Workbook/BSOR (at Calton?) but as far as I know it never happened.

    Don’t think there was anything else before the Sub-Club (which featured several Sugar-to-be songs). But prepared to be corrected!

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