overhaul / undertow

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

I told a few close friends about this site. Only one dear soul (thanks, Art) has told me their thoughts on it. It appears I am the proverbial tree in the forest.

That's not such a bad thing, I guess.

Saw Bob Mould live, solo, last week. It was incredible. The man is a consummate professional, handling everything himself from the stage and not missing a (literal) beat.

The last time I saw him perform, he was playing with Sugar at the Palladium. I was about 17, I think. Myself and another surly teenage friend had gone. Peter and I only half-listened to the show. I seem to recall we were way cool then, cooler than any of the other people there. Odd, that.

About two thirds of the way into the concert, though, I made my nonchalant way up to the stage--being short, they let you through sometimes--and looked up to see Mould sweating and straining at the mike. He was fucking glowing. It was right after Copper Blue, and he lashed each song out like a personal vendetta exorcised right there, in front of an audience of 500. The memory of him--mostly the sound of his voice, screaming, breaking, thrilling--still is with me. Some sounds get burnt into your head. The next twenty minutes were branded into folds of my brain reserved for that single memory alone.

I'm still a huge fan of his live recordings, which I think suit the lyrical content and the musical tone so well, better than any studio-produced version. "Explode and Make Up" and "The Slim," off what think is the Explode and Make Up ep, are some of the most cutting and gut-wrenching recordings ever.

So seeing him again was pretty cool. After all these years he couldn't every high note, but the euphoria and engrossing intensity were still there. No one lets you up to the front at the El Rey--you could be a midget and still have to stand in the back if you're late. Even though I was stuck at the very end of the hall, I felt that tug into my gut, that tightness in my throat. Mr. Mould, thank you for never adulterating that.

All in all, a beautiful show, and lovely company as well.


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