It seems hard to remember now, but there was a time when the odds of seeing another full band Bob Mould show seemed remote. Particularly considering that this was the fifth gig in Scotland since the release of ‘Silver Age’ in 2012.
Within that context, this was never going to be a show that would really surprise. There were a couple of songs which were rearranged, an all-electric ‘Sinners and their Repentances’ and a slowed down take on ‘Sin King’ from the new album, ‘Sunshine Rock’. But otherwise the show delivered everything you’d expect from a Bob Mould show – melody, energy and volume. And, this time, a little sunshine.
As has been the case on recent tours there was a healthy representation from the new record. Whilst these songs in the past would largely have been front loaded, usually after a trio of classics, this time the new material mainly ran from mid-set to near the end. Which probably says a lot about Bob’s confidence in his new material.
Interestingly too (and probably long overdue), this time the set seemed planned entirely independent from any records. So there were no short runs of songs from the same album (the The Act We Act/A Good Idea/Changes trilogy was a particular favourite at one point). I do think the sequencing worked well although playing half dozen classics from the off seemed likely to cause the odd coronary had Bob maintained that sort of run for any length of time!
But when Bob can play something like ‘In A Free Land’ *MID-SET* it illustrates just how much material he has at his disposal. If that was one of the highlights then it’s fair to say that the likes of ‘I Fought’, ‘Thirty Dozen Roses’ and ‘Lost Faith’ were every bit as good on the night.
Earlier in the day Bob had announced on Twitter that he’d been suffering from a chest infection and had required the NHS to come to his assistance in Leeds. It really was hard to tell he’d been/was ill although his movement about the stage was perhaps slightly less energetic than normal.
Ultimately the only disappointment was that the show didn’t last three hours (!), but that was probably for the best given the chest infection and the potential for heart attacks. So inevitably there were songs that I’d have loved to have heard – and in the main that’s more recent material than the standards.
So there was no ‘What Do You Want Me To Do’, no ‘Black Confetti’ (‘Chartered Trips’ seems to have been the favoured jam again on this tour), and nothing at all from ‘Patch The Sky’. I keep saying this but if Bob is going to do a secondary tour later in the year (including Glasgow, of course), I’d be ecstatic if that tour consisted just material from ‘Silver Age’ onwards.
It’s almost impossible to imagine this band having an off night, maybe it does happen, but certainly not in Edinburgh. Otherwise it was a stunning show and as loud as ever (someone at work didn’t have earplugs and his ears were still ringing on Monday!)
Support came from Pabst a trio from Berlin. They operate in that sort of melodic grungey area that so many occupy and it’s hard to explain why I enjoyed them more than some others I’ve seen recently. It might have been their melodies or their capacity for taking the songs off at tangents or even the stunt photographer who added a random element to the show by requiring the band to avoid tripping over him, but I did enjoy them. Maybe not my favourite new band but definitely worth seeing.
But really this was all about the glory of seeing Bob and his band in full flight yet again – roll on the next tour.
Bob setlist here.
More snaps from the show: