Skip to content

Bob Mould – Live at Turf Club (St. Paul Mn 4/18/17) & Catchgroove’s Hall of Fame: Sugar – File Under Easy Listening 

April 20, 2017

img_3501img_3487

I am not a punk guy, but I am a Minneapolis guy.  I am a music head, therefore I am a Bob Mould fan. It necessarily follows.

The other night I saw Bob Mould, solo electric live at the Turf Club.  I loved the simplicity of the Mould’s solo electric concept: he walks on stage with his guitar case, whips out his guitar, plugs in, greets the crowd as old friends, plays his ass off for 90 minutes, says goodbye, sets his guitar down, waits a minute, spits out an encore, packs up his equipment and exits the stage.  A working musician.

I saw Mould in a similar situation a year ago for a mini concert at the same venue. That show was shorter and thus rushed.  It was also the day Prince died – so it had a weird vibe.  I enjoyed the more relaxed pace of this show.

Mould often plays in a trio format, but even in a trio, it is pretty much solo Bob Mould – his guitar and voice dominate.  He has a distinctive noisy guitar sound and the perfect voice to cut through his buzz-saw guitar storm.  It is nice to hear Mould’s beautiful noise with no distractions.  It is refreshing to witness such a no-nonsense show. But this would not work if Mould did not have great songs – Mould has great songs.

The highlight of the show was the closer; the theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, “Love Is All Around.”  Mould has been covering this song since his days in Hüsker Dü.  Mould plays it without irony and with the same intensity as anything in his catalog.  A true gift to the Twin Cities audience.

After the show I went over to the merch stand and was delighted to see they had an autographed vinyl copy of Sugar’s File Under Easy Listening – my second favorite Mould album after Workbook.  A pretty fine souvenir from the show.

File Under Easy Listening (F.U.E.L. for short) is perfect pop punk.   Mould’s gift is writing gorgeous pop ditties disguised in punk grime. F.U.E.L. lets the pop shine through more than anything else in Mould’s catalog. When this came out in the fall of 1994 I played it to death. It never got old and it sounds as fresh today as it did 20 plus years ago.   Many of these songs are staples of Mould’s live shows to this day. As a bonus it is one of my favorite pieces of album art – what a gem to let this beauty out of the jewel box after all these years.

F.U.E.L. takes the classic Mould sound and gives it a little jangle and a little shine. There are outstanding harmonies. The songs have huge hooks.  Throughout the album Mould unleashes some of the greatest guitar solos of his career.   “Believe What You’re Saying” is my favorite Mould song of all time.   It should have been a huge hit.

The icing on the cake is the sonic production – this is a beautiful sounding record.   The LP is cut from the 2012 remix of the album.  Per the linear notes, Mould was never happy with the original mix.  Doing an A/B comparison between the 1994 CD and the 2012 remastered LP, the LP sounds 10 times better (and I always thought the original sounded good).  The remastered LP is much more alive and spacious.  The 2012 remaster has a ton of bonus material too (on the CD or the download – not on the LP).

Advertisements
One Comment
  1. Good piece. He is good and you nailed his vibe. His new album you turned me onto is great. Both albums above are essential listening for CB.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: