Bob Mould has been one of those artists I've been meaning to check out for years, and on Sunday I finally got the chance. His Sunday night set at The Paradise will definitely be one of my live highlights of the year.
Mould's 23 song set was absolutely perfect for fans of his entire catalog. It was 26% Husker Du, 17% Sugar, and the majority being his solo work. As a whole section of the 80s alt-rock lifers will only play new solo material so they don't just become a nostalgia act, Mould embraces the nostalgia while also proving his new material stands up to the classics. I wasn't expecting anything from his days with Sugar, so that was a very pleasant surprise, particularly "If I Can't Change Your Mind." And his Husker Du work is just the definition of classic. "Something I Learned Today" was my personal highlight of the set. For anyone questioning the quality of this solo work, just check out "The End of Things" from his excellent new album Patch the Sky. The encore also included a cover of the Ramones' "Beat On the Brat" with vocals by drummer Jon Wurster and opener Ted Leo on drums.
For us aging fans, Sunday's show was a revelation. The middle aged fans with thinning hair and graying beards were out full force to pack the house, on a work night no less! At 55, Mould rocks harder than anything that is considered punk these days. While mostly standing at the mic, he still was ferocious in his delivery, and prowled the stage while not singing. His glasses fogged and were dripping by the fourth song and stayed that way throughout. Hs backing band of Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy, both of Superchunk, were unbelievably tight. My only complaint of the evening is that I left my earplugs in the car and didn't feel like walking back in the rain to get them. I dealt with ringing for until Wednesday. Damn getting old.
Taking the stage at 7:58 (one good thing about old guy rock, it's very punctual), Ted Leo opened the show solo and opted for an electric guitar instead of acoustic, a la Billy Bragg. He performed songs from both his work with The Pharmacists and The Both, his band with Boston native Aimee Mann. He introduced some new, unreleased material by asking the crowd to choose between unnamed songs "A" and "B." Since barely anyone cheered for "A," which could have been that a lot of the crowd didn't get what was happening, he declared "Fuck 'A.' 'A' is the worst" and played "B." "Me and Mia" may have been the highlight of his set. Another artist on my list that I've just never quite made it out for, I'll definitely be looking forward to a full set performance from him.