Bob Mould has managed to accomplish a considerable amount within the time frame of his expansive career, from being the driving force behind one of America’s most formidable post-punk bands, Hüsker Dü, to releasing a dance inspired electro album, Modulate, over a decade later. Bob has maintained his cutting edge enthusiasm throughout the years, making his latest release, Body of Song, an exciting new installment to his collection of well-made music. Body of Song could be described as a return to what Bob does best, guitar-heavy full-band alternative rock & roll. Bob’s recent live show last Friday at Chicago’s Metro proved to be an awesome showcase featuring a variety of his work. The show included past hits as well as a series of tracks from his current album.
As a fan of Hüsker Dü while in high school, I was riddled with anticipation for the event, and hoped I would have the opportunity to hear some aggressive punk rock classics. The show had sold out two nights in a row and below me from the balcony I could see the venue filling to capacity. With Bob having taken a three-year absence from the music scene prior to his most recent release, I could tell I wasn’t the only one who wanted to make sure I made to the show this time around. When the moment appeared to be just right, the house lights dimmed and the crowd proceeded to welcome the artist to the stage with a roar of applause. Instantly Bob moved into view and began bouncing around with superb energy.
The crowd was most certainly of a slightly older nature and immediately embraced the style of early '90s indie-rock that Mould masterfully created. It was like The Breeders with a male vocalist mixed with subtle elements of Dinosaur Jr. The continuous evolution of contemporary music continues to move away from '80s rehash and onto the imperative nature of early '90s indie-rock. This slow transition relies heavily on the talents of various artists like Mould, who with albums like Workbook and Black Sheets Of Rain, defined the era.
Audience members threw hands in the air and thrashed heads as Mould relentless jumped from one song on his playlist to the next. Mould’s performance was on point and to no surprise, sounded especially good on the EQ. Mould was backed by two other musicians, making his live show a romantic three-piece engagement. People around me on the balcony couldn't help but move and before the show was half way over, I was surrounded by dancing fans. Sweat began to roll down Mould’s face as the show continued to pick up momentum.
I stopped and pondered for a moment what a Hüsker Dü concert may have been like, and I wondered if anyone in the audience had ever witness Mould back in '88? Not many artists are able to hold onto the times but Mould has done so, and I for one see his progression as a miraculous achievement. Mould’s album, Body of Songs, is a well-written body of work that shows exquisite taste and uncompromising dedication.