Bob Mould Band / American Clay – The Liquid Room, Edinburgh – Monday 8th February 2016
A lack of sleep on Sunday night and an unwell Mrs MPT actually had me (briefly) entertaining the notion of not going to see Bob Mould in Edinburgh on Monday. Previously that would have been unthinkable as there’s always been the fear that this time might be the last. At least since the “last” full band tour in 1998.
Although the evidence suggests otherwise (this was Bob’s fourth full band gig in Scotland in the last 8 years.) go I did with MPK2 in tow for his second Bob show.
There’s no doubt that frequency of Bob shows in recent years has everything to do with the current live band featuring Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster. They’ve not only inspired Bob in live performance but also in making two of his best post-Sugar albums in ‘Silver Age’ and ‘Beauty and Ruin’ – a run which will hopefully continue with the imminent ‘Patch The Sky’.
But first off the opening act and unfortunately I’m not going to dwell on American Clay. I’d liked the single “Talk” but in person they lacked a spark for me. Which could, of course, be down to my tiredness. So another time, maybe and they certainly did get a decent enough reception.
So to the main event and Bob and band put in a typically punk performance. In fact, of all the live band shows I’ve seen, this was quite possibly the most ferocious and unrelenting.
Yet I think what impressed me most about the show was how much room continues to be made for the new songs in the set. With for from the imminent album, 5 from ‘Beauty & Ruin’ as well as one from ‘Silver Age’ the majority of the set was drawn from the last few years. It’s been nearly 20 years since Bob had that much confidence in his new material and certainly the change since, say, the District Line tour has been quite dramatic.
The down side of this was that there were no real surprises. Of the less aired numbers both ‘Come Around’ and ‘Hate Paper Doll’ had featured last time in Leeds and Glasgow.
Disappointingly we also seemed to have one fewer song from ‘Patch The Sky’ than the earlier dates of the tour yet the songs that were played bode well for the new record. And it was nice to hear the extended guitar coda on ‘Voices In Your Head’ instead of the fade out on the single version.
Reflecting Bob’s confidence in the new material the highlights were as often the recent material as opposed to the classics. So an incendiary ‘Kid With The Crooked Smile’ was every bit as good as ‘I Apologize’, whilst ‘Tomorrow Morning’ and ‘The Descent’ held their own against say ‘Hoover Dam’. And when it came to the pop tunes I’ll take ‘I Don’t Know You Anymore’ over yet another ‘Your Favorite Thing’ every time.
The encore though might have been the most impressive part of the evening consisting of a hat trick of tunes from ‘Flip Your Wig’. I tend to think that ‘Makes No Sense At All’ gets a bit overused but on the back of ‘Flip Your Wig’ and ‘Hate Paper Doll’ it made the perfect way to close the show.
One slight negative. The pace barely let up through the set (other than the coda of ‘The War’ and an emotional ‘Hardly Getting Over It’) and normally this would be a good thing. But on Monday, again perhaps down to tiredness, I found myself craving just a little respite from the relentless onslaught.
If it’s any guide though, I’ve been listening to little other than Bob all week.
- A Good Idea
- I Apologize
- The Descent
- I Don’t Know You Anymore
- You Say You
- Voices In My Head
- Hold On
- If I Can’t Change Your Mind
- Hey Mr. Grey
- Tomorrow Morning
- Kid With Crooked Face
- Losing Time
- Hoover Dam
- Come Around
- Your Favorite Thing
- The War
- Hardly Getting Over It
- Chartered Trips
20. Flip Your Wig
21. Hate Paper Doll
22. Makes No Sense At All