Bob Mould at First Avenue, 9/15/12

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess

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Bob Mould with All Eyes West
First Avenue, Minneapolis
September 15, 2012

There was a moment at the end of Bob Mould's show at First Avenue on Saturday night where the legendary songwriter with enduring local ties took a brief moment to soak in the rousing ovation from the crowd. Bob took it all in like it was like a breath of fresh air, before he affectionately pounded his chest over his heart as he left the stage.

It was a quick, subtle response to all of the love shown to him by not only the sold-out Mainroom audience on this evening, but also the continued support the Twin Cities has given him over the years as well. It was a genuine, touching gesture from a man who just spent the last 80 minutes absolutely laying waste to the club with a bristling, urgent set filled with classic Sugar songs, raucous new material, and early Hüsker Dü anthems.

The set began with Mould and his cracking backing band of bassist Jason Narducy (Verbow) and drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk) tearing through Sugar's celebrated album Copper Blue in its entirety. Other than taking a short moment at the start of the set to let the massive ovation that greeted them die down, the band didn't waste a second during their 40-minute run through of the album, tearing breathlessly from one polished and powerful track to the next.

Photo by Erik Hess

The younger guys gave Mould's classic material a vibrant intensity while also modernizing the pulse of the tracks. After a hard-charging "The Act We Act" got things going, a raw and fiery version of "A Good Idea" quickly followed, with the band bounding around the legendary First Ave stage like they were much younger men, obviously energized by the occasion. And while anytime a band goes through one of their albums from start to finish you remove the thrill of not knowing what is coming next, the real surprises would eventually come later on in the night.

"Helpless" and "Hoover Dam," as good of a one-two rock 'n roll punch as you will find on any album from the '90s, were anthemic as always, with Bob in fine voice and assisted capably by Narducy on backing vocals. If anything, these songs were charged with a newfound insistence and spirit not only by Jason and Jon, but by Bob himself, who really seemed to relish dusting off these old numbers for his fans.

Photo by Erik Hess
Photo by Erik Hess

The second half of the record went by in a blur, as "If I Can't Change Your Mind," "Fortune Teller" and "Man On The Moon" all were explosive and full of a restless energy that hasn't been quelled by the years. And it certainly was a treat knowing that the night wasn't going to end after "Man On The Moon," and we were going to hear another powerful set of songs from Mould and the boys.

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