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Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

Bob Mould’s Solo Punk Rock Show Consumed Off Broadway

by Carrie Zukoski

Bob Mould. The Bob Mould. At very least you know his name. And you’ve most likely heard his music whether it be the punk rock Bob Mould of the ’80s Hüsker Dü or the alt-rock Bob Mould of the early ’90s Sugar. Somewhere along the lines, if you listen to any kind of rock ’n’ roll, you’ve had contact in some fashion with the legendary guitarist and vocalist. So, when he’s slated to play a small, intimate venue you say hell, yes, I’m going. 

The concert, originally scheduled for late March 2020, finally came to be Oct. 23, 2021, at Off Broadway in St. Louis. It was the night before the end of his Distortion and Blue Hearts tour that spanned just over a month and a total of 22 dates. And, in that second half of the tour, it was just him and his electric guitar, solo on stage making it the Solo Electric: Distortion and Blue Hearts tour.

Everyone at the sold-out show had their own reason for being there. But, I’m guessing most were avid Hüsker Dü fans from back in the day as you could hear many quietly singing along to the lyrics during “Flip Your Wig” and “I Apologize.” 

At the outset, Mould thanked everyone for being there and for being masked and keeping them on. He said it’s the only way he was able to perform and stay safe and that it was going to be this way for a while. He also said that he wasn’t going to talk much as talking was ruining his voice. That lasted for a few songs until he intro’d “Next Generation” from Blue Hearts by saying there’s too much shit going on anymore and he momentarily pleaded for everyone to vote.

Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

Bob Mould in concert

Bob Mould in St. Louis, Oct. 23, 2021

 

His head might lack any hair and his beard is white but Mould’s voice sounded just as strong and solid as it did when he started. He joked that he was the oldest looking 31-year-old out there in response to a fan wishing him a happy birthday (it was Oct. 16 and he’s now 61). 

About one-third of the show’s stellar set was made up of songs from his most recent album, Blue Hearts. A review of the album in Stereogum said, in part “Bob Mould is angry again. Righteously, volcanically angry. It’s good to have that version of him back…it is clear Mould has everything on his mind. There is a lot to be furious about these days, and Mould is right there, railing against hypocritical conservative evangelicals in one chorus and mulling over the warping of concepts like ‘free speech’…These are, in basic form, protest songs.”

Can you have a punk rock show with no moshing, crowd surfing, or crazy antics, with half of the crowd seated, and only one musician on stage with a guitar and a voice? Bob Mould can. 

“Punk is a state of mind; it’s not a sound or a look. It’s doing whatever the fuck you want to do, being supportive of other people who are doing that, and then you try to take that energy to make a better world,” Mould said in this 2019 interview in Kerrang.

Opening for Mould was Jason Narducy who is also a regular musician with Mould (and has been with many other notable bands in the past) at this point and had played with the rest of Mould’s band on the first half of this tour. Narducy has had his fair share of success but, according to him, he’s not famous but perhaps slightly famous.

Narducy performed songs from his band Split Single, such as “Mangled Tusk” and “95 Percent” and the Verboten musical written about the band he was in when he was 11. Narducy was much more chatty than Mould introducing almost every song with a fun anecdote. He also shared about his missed opportunity to take his turn at the 11-story slide at City Museum earlier in the day as just when he got to the top the fire alarm went off and everyone had to evacuate. 

As of this writing, the online setlist for Bob Mould hasn’t been updated but you can find previous setlists here: https://www.setlist.fm/search?query=bob+mould

You can find more photos from the night here: https://bit.ly/BobMould21cz 

 

Jason Narducy

Jason Narducy

Jason Narducy

Jason Narducy

Jason Narducy

Jason Narducy

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