San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Sunday, April 5, 2009

12 Days 'til Coachella - Bob Mould Band

I've seen Bob a few times, I think I've seen him two and a half times as a solo artist, but never as a full band. I'll explain the half time I saw him.

It was the first time I'd had a chance to check him out, and it was to be him playing solo at Detroit's version of The Casbah, St. Andrew's Hall. This place is like three or four times the size of the 'bah, complete with a second level that goes all the way around the place. I'd say capacity is a little over a thousand.

My friend The Hammer drove us down from East Lansing, where we were going to school at the time. This must have been around 1991 or 1992. On the way into the show, we had a little conversation about how the show would be enhanced for us, and headed inside.

We made it just in time for his set, and when he came on, all eyes and ears were on the man on stage. I remember he went back and forth between an electric-acoustic 12-string and an electric guitar, but it was all just Bob up there, cranking out song after song of heartfelt emotion, thought-provoking lyrics and plain old balls-out rock and roll.

After about five or six songs, my buddy mentioned something about our "conversation" not hitting him right, and that he wasn't feeling entirely himself. In the next seconds, I found out that he hadn't eaten anything since lunch, and that it's very hard for someone of my stature to hold up someone over six feet tall, especially when he's crashing into someone who's minding his business just trying to hold up the left-side wall of St. Andrew's.

I dragged him to the back lobby near the entrance, where we hung out for another song or so before trying to head back in. He didn't feel up to finishing the show, and offered to meet me later, but I wanted to make sure he was all right, so we headed to El Loco, a decent Mexican place just around the corner.

I got to tell Bob this story when he signed my copy of his first solo album, Workbook, at Belly Up in Solana Beach a few years ago. That's the great thing about Belly Up, and about Bob Mould. He's a real person, and Belly Up is the kind of venue where, sometimes, the band sticks around to talk to people. Even when the band is just one man, when it's THIS guy, you hardly notice he's the only one on stage.

Bob Mould has a voice that can fill an arena, and it will be great to see him with a full band. Listen for songs from Black Sheets of Rain along with the new album. Bob's recently gone through some personal troubles, and all indications are that his songwriting and sound are more distinctly and wonderfully him than ever before.

I remember hearing an interview with him where he explained his friends' typical reaction to hearing a new album. He said that friends, upon hearing the last song (usually the angriest, check out Sacrifice (Let There Be Peace) from BSOR for an example), they turn to him and say, Hey, are you all right, man? This guy puts everything he's got and more into his work, and this is a rare chance to see him with a full band. With album titles like The Last Dog and Pony Show, it's hard to know how many more tours he'll embark on.

His new album, Life and Times, will be released this Tuesday, April 7th. Until then, you can stream the whole thing here.

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