On Saturday, September 13th, I descended upon Williamsburg to experience the prolific music of Bob Mould, live and in person. And three days later, my ears are still ringing.
The two other times I saw Mould live were celebrations of specific anniversaries. In 2012, he played at the Williamsburg Waterfront show and celebrated Sugar’s classic album Copper Blue by playing it all the way through with some solo and Husker-era stuff thrown in. In March of this year, I attended the “25 Years of Workbook” show at City Winery where he focused on music from that era and related releases.
The Music Hall of Williamsburg show was different because he touring in support of his most recent album Beauty & Ruin (Merge, 2014). The intimate feel of Music Hall of Williamsburg served the band well as they turned up their amps very high and rocked for about an hour and a half to songs from all three eras of Mould’s work.
There were some Husker songs, some Sugar songs and some songs from his solo catalog. They played with an urgent vigor typical of much younger musicians. Mould and Jason Narducy jumped around stage while Jon Wurster drummed frantically in the background.
One song lead quickly into the next, with little room to chat in between. When Mould paused to ask the audience if he was playing loud and fast enough, everyone cheered. Hearing loss was not a concern for this group. This is rock-and-roll after all. There is no time for chatting; there is only time for rocking.
It is rare to be in a situation where people are wholeheartedly enjoying the music. People were dancing and hugging. One gentleman was raising his arms up during certain songs as if he was experiencing some sort of awakening. “Celebrated Summer” received some of the largest amount of cheers. “Real World” closed out the set. The band returned promptly for two Husker songs, “Something I Learned Today” and “Love Is All Around.”
As the crowd filed out on to North 6th Street, everyone seemed very satisfied. The ability to hear may have been temporary diminished but it was worth it. Mould, Narducy and Wurster are a very talented trio who know how to turn it up as high as they can possibly go.
Bob Mould played the Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 13, 2014. View the setlist via setlist.fm.
Cymbals Eat Guitars, an indie-punk band from the New York area, opened the show.