Tuesday, 11 January 2011

146 BOB MOULD, House Of Freaks, London Astoria, Thursday 23 November 1989

An eagerly awaited one this; after being introduced to Husker Du, too late to have seen them "live", I was determined not to miss main-man Bob Mould on his first solo tour, particularly when "Workbook", his current album, is a brilliant blend of introverted yet delicious folk-based rock and stunning tunes. Took the train up with Dave (who introduced me to Husker Du in the first place; it's his fault!) and walked in just as the support band, a Richmond, Va. duo, took the stage. They certainly had their moments, with a neat set of sprawling guitar licks, and good spoon and washboard playing (!) from the percussionist.

A tall and skinny Bob took the stage at 9.20 to the instrumental guitar refrain of "Sunspots", then played a powerful set largely based on the wonderful "Workbook". His deep, resonant voice erupted, as if it was having a really bad time down in his throat, as he, wild eyed, led his band through his own personal exorcism. The "Workbook" numbers took flight live, with "See A Little Light" a highlight, and he also premièred some new material which sounded more like the poppier moments of Husker Du, finishing with a white light and white noise cacophony which lasted about 10 minutes and also recalled the overpowering noise of his former charges.

A fine second encore involved a solo run through of some old Husker Du numbers, as if to clear the air; "Makes No Sense At All" particularly memorable, as we concluded a thoroughly entertaining evening!

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