Bob Mould Band / Thoughtforms – The Garage, Glasgow – Monday 10th October 2016
Prior to this show, in thinking about recent indifferent supports at great Bob shows, I had a vague notion that the quality of the support band was in inverse proportion to the quality of Bob’s performance. It’s not necessarily an iron law (Cloud Nothings and the Shepherd’s Bush show 4 years ago spring to mind)- but Monday’s show actually lent the theory a little more credence.
So let’s get support Thoughtforms out of the way first – dull, plodding and lacking in good tunes their set never even featured any drama. They simply weren’t my cup of tea at all although, in the interests of fairness, I should point out that there were definitely those present who didn’t share my opinion.
But the question is, was the show as good as the support were poor?
Absolutely. As it turned out, Bob and band (Jason Narducy on bass, Jon Wurster on drums) put on an exhilarating show. It helped having a better sound than in Edinburgh – being able to hear not Jason’s bass but also his backing vocals was a big plus.
But really, more than that, it was just a blast from start to finish with Jason apparently describing the show as a ‘barn burner’.
Having front row perches meant that we were in a good position to see everything that was happening on stage. And from our vantage point it was clear from the off that this was going to be a good one with the three band members hugely enjoying themselves.
So when Bob did this low slung hop in front of Jon, the drummer cracked up whilst Bob at one point even placed himself between Jason’s amps and Jon’s kit.
There was also the odd sight of Bob charging across the stage apparently to check Jason’s setlist midway through ‘I Apologize’ (even though the first ten songs on this tour seem to have been the same every night!) but mostly it was about the breathtaking attack of the band.
The Husker Du and Sugar classics were there but what was most impressive was the way that the new songs matched up to the standards. In fact one of the best things about the show was that over half the main set was drawn from the last three albums with a third of the main set drawn from the most recent ‘Patch The Sky’. So for every ‘A Good Idea’ there was a ‘The End of Things’ or ‘I Don’t Know You Anymore’ and the quality didn’t dip at all.
For my money, for the first time in nearly 20 years, Bob has the balance right between the old stuff and the new stuff and being able to rotate older stuff in and out of the set is a positive thing for me.
There was no doubt though what the highlight was – an extraordinary, extended version of set closer ‘Black Confetti’ of which the recorded version comprised less than half of the live running time. I counted four separate sections after the song had ‘finished’ including an extended freeform psychedelic section, one with a drum solo (!) and a reprise of the main song. It was a truly unique version and I can only hope that someone caught it for posterity.
At the end of that Bob looked a little stunned, shuffling centre stage for a slightly embarrassed half bow which suggested that the band weren’t going to attempt to follow that.
Fortunately fllow it they did with a two song encore that saw them play that old Husker cover ‘Love Is All Around’ before a celebratory ‘Makes No Sense At All’ really closed the show.
What’s been great about the last couple of years has been how much Bob’s confidence in the new material shines through and that’s even more impressive when you consider how many great songs from the last three albums aren’t getting played. (Two of my favourites from the last record ‘Monument’ and ‘Losing Sleep’ weren’t played). I really would enjoy a show with a main set based entirely on those three albums.
Anyhow let’s hope that Bob’s enthusiasm for loud guitars sticks with him and we’ll see him back on these shores with this band before too long.
More of the phone camera pics are here.
Bob Mould Setlist (Glasgow 10/10/2016):
1.Flip Your Wig
2. Hate Paper Doll
3. I Apologise
4. A Good Idea
6. The End of Things
7. The Descent
8. I Don’t Know You Anymore
9. You Say You
10. Voices In My Head
11. Hold On
12. If I Can’t Change Your Mind
13. Hey Mr Grey
14. Hoover Dam
15. Tomorrow Morning
16. Losing Time
17. Something I Learned Today
18. Come Around
19. Chartered Trips
20. Daddy’s Favourite
21. Black Confetti
22. Love Is All Around
23. Makes No Sense At All