Bob Mould: Circle of Friends
A while ago I ordered a DVD from the US, despite the fact that I could have bought it on Amazon.uk – it somehow felt right to buy this in the old Peel era way (though not with International Money Orders, do they still exist?). It’s a show Bob Mould did in his adopted hometown of Washington DC a couple of years ago, and it’s great. This is definitely the new Bob, the happy Bob, but miraculously it hasn’t made him rubbish. The quality is excellent throughout but what’s really exciting is that so are the songs – from 1984 through to 2005. Because what you get here is seven tracks from Sugar’s Copper Blue, the same number from Bob’s last CD Body of Song, three from the various solo albums… and six Husker Du songs. While he has been playing some of this material for years, what really struck me is the fact that he’s fucking grinning throughout the gig. He looks happy, relaxed, confident and really proud of these twenty-three songs, just some of the best bits of the one of the most amazing careers in popular music. Well, in my opinion.
Even if you don’t know the earlier material but thought that Copper Blue was one of the best records of the so-called ‘grunge’ era, this is worth a look (it was, and you get most of it, after all). If you’re a fan, and are excited by the fact that Bob has recruited the brilliant Brendan Canty of Fugazi on drums, as well as Richard Morel and Jason Narducy, then what are you waiting for? I can tell you that this version of ‘Hardly Getting Over It’ is less raw than usual, and more moving than ever. Elegiac, even. And ‘Celebrated Summer’ is as electrifying as I always want it to be. There’s even a cracking version of ‘Chartered Trips’! Only the churlish would want more (OK – ‘Beyond The Threshold’ would have been nice. Only joking, Bob).
Hell, if you just wanted to know what the trademark Bob guitar-playing stance-stumble-run looks like, well, it’s here too.
Some tasters from the DVD, though they’re only YouTube quality:
Bob Mould – ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind’
Bob Mould – ‘A Good Idea’
And a scratchy from-the-vinyl track from Workbook for luck: ‘See A Little Light‘