There’s an old, fat, bald bloke on stage, perspiration soaking his shirt, spectacles all steamed up, and he’s bouncing about the stage as if he’s eighteen years old, enjoyment etched upon his features like he’d rather be doing little else. And maybe it’s the venue – modest, low-ceilinged, far smaller than his reputation would suggest – but something about this intrinsically works. Never mind that the average age of the crowd is somewhere north of fifty, that support act North Atlantic Oscillation have their set shanghaied by technical glitches not of their own making, and that the approach to the bar is an undignified scrum; Bob Mould and his band are in their element, tonight. The typical power pop trio; drums, bass, Mould’s trusty, petrol blue guitar – which I like to imagine he calls Old Faithful, except he probably doesn’t. There’s a great deal of Copper Blue in the air tonight; the first five tracks for example; towards the end of ‘Hoover Dam’ an amp fails or a cable falls loose, a roadie dispatched to scurry in the background to fix the leak, and for a while it’s just drums and bass and vox, yet Bob continues thrashing at his guitar regardless – and it still sounds bloody excellent. Band as tight, regimented unit, the pace loud and aggressive yet perfectly controlled, the main protagonist herding this night in a crypt like some vaudeville-era showman – as somebody quite rightly said on Twitter, ‘I’ve seen him tear apart a room with an acoustic, so electric is just “!”‘ (thanks Kate). And yes, that’s quite the apt description. Marvellous stuff.
Bob Mould / Helpless (Live in Glasgow)