Tuesday, 3 August 2010

389 BOB MOULD, MERCURY REV, Dark Star, London Kentish Town Forum, Thursday 29 October 1998

Two London gigs in one week is pretty unusual these days, but this one was booked up before the Tom gig, last time out, so off we did trot! Having decided to drive over to Kentish Town, Andy picked us up at 4.45, and did a sterling job of getting us there for 7.30, given that he's a country boy who's never driven in London before!

First band on, Dark Star, arrived at 7.45, and seemed to warm to the London crowd, as their set was better sounding and more consistent than before. Relying heavily on their excellent drummer (so much so that my gig colleagues remarked that it'd be nice if they wrote some songs to go with the rhythm!), they were, again, a rhythmic and pretty useful opener.

However, as before, they paled into insignificance before the splendour and majesty of the Mercury Rev set. Since last Friday (was it really only last Friday?), I'd acquired their stunning "Deserter's Songs" LP, so was prepared this time, but the sheer irridescent beauty of openers "Endlessly" and "Holes" still took my breath away. These two were the highlights of another beautiful and majestic set from a band who have performed the ultimate re-invention, and have, as I said last week, reached heights of stunning majesty in their work others can only dream of. No "Tugboat" this time, but still incredible - a view echoed by all 5 of us gathered here, except Tim, who thought they were "dull"!!!

The Rev this time had Bob Mould comfortably beaten, as his subsequent set was beset with a muddy sound, and again a disappointing song selection. Despite the sell-out crowd tonight, the moshpit wasn't huge, and I managed a vantage point near the front without participating (tight calf muscles, you see, following my Tom mosh!). Bob again thrashed through the set with awesome energy and power, but too many numbers were lumpen and directionless. I hate writing those words, as I'm a huge Bob Mould fan, but as this was advertised as the last date of his last electric band tour ever, I wanted... well, honestly, I wanted Husker Du! I wanted Sugar! Instead, we compensated ourselves with a nevertheless excellent "See A Little Light" from his superb and defining 1989 LP "Workbook", and the knowledge that hopefully there's some life and intensity in the old boy yet. I'm sure he'll be back, next time thrashing an acoustic as wildly as he did his faithful blue stratocaster tonight, and every night.

And we had a pretty good run back home as well, Andy proving that driving through London isn't so bad after all - even for "country boys"!

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