Husker Du? Bob Mould, Irving Plaza, New York City, March 13, 2008

BLISTERING.

Bob Mould played Irving Plaza last night. Oh. My. God.

Mould, along with Grant Hart, made up most of the hugely influential and revered post-punk band Husker Du, which slammed out of Minneapolis in the early 80s.

[The band was named for a Scandinavian “Concentration”-like memory board game briefly popular in the 70s. Said game is remembered mainly for its peculiar and opaque Euro-flavor TV ads. Think Mentos commercials.]

Husker Du means, “Do You Remember?”

Did I ever! Last night Fugazi Fan and I remembered a freezing snowy night in ’86 with Husker Du boiling up the mosh pit at Irving. And their final tour in ’87, at the Ritz. I remembered being tossed off the edge of the mosh pit like a piece of flotsam, my then-Olive-Oyl-like build no match for the crazed and beefy boys smashing around in the center.

Bob hadn’t played any Husker in a long time. Did HE Remember? He did come out on tour last year, and for the first time in probably a decade played a coupla Husker tunes and stuff from his second band, Sugar. And last night he did it again.

Stupendous. Opening with newer stuff, Mould built giant slabs of guitar brilliance, submerging the melodic lines beneath frenzied layers of speed and bass. His unmistakable vocals, mixing anger, hope, rue, passion, and white-hot energy, was too hoarse for the softer songs at the end. No matter.

“I Apologize” is still one of the most satisfying bitter no-apology breakup songs ever, and the band just screamed off the charts on the rest of the material. A huge “Celebrated Summer” led to the classic “Divide and Conquer”, its lyrics still resonant today:
“It’s not about my politics
Something happened way too quick
A bunch of men who played it sick
They divide, conquer

It’s all here before your eyes
Safety is a big disguise
That hides among the other lies
They divide, conquer. . .”

By the time they opened the second encore with “Chartered Trips” from Zen Arcade I was beyond bliss.

Thank goodness I was beyond the mosh pit, too. But not the memory. Screaming, speed, intensity, brilliance. Ahh.

Here’s the set list, thanks to twi-ny.com:
The Act We Act
A Good Idea
I Hate Alternative Rock
See a Little Light
Hoover Dam
I Am Vision, I Am Sound
Hanging Tree
Miniature Parade
Your Favorite Thing
Again and Again
Circles
Paralyzed
Can’t Help You Anymore
I Apologize (Husker, from New Day Rising)
Celebrated Summer (Husker, from New Day Rising)
Divide and Conquer (Husker, from Flip Your Wig)

Moving Trucks
Egoverride
If I Can’t Change Your Mind

Chartered Trips (Husker, from Zen Arcade)
Makes No Sense at All (Husker, from Flip Your Wig)

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One thought on “Husker Du? Bob Mould, Irving Plaza, New York City, March 13, 2008

  1. Wow. I was at the exact same Husker Du show that you mention at Irving Plaza in 1986! (You wouldn’t know it from my tastes or blog lately, but yeah, I guess I’m an old punk.)

    And I guess you do feel your age when you’re in a mosh pit again.

    I’ve been in pretty rowdy crowds in recent times too with people tossing each other around a lot… M.I.A. at Terminal 5 in the front and center one of those nights was a good example – I wasn’t the only one who described that as a “mosh pit” (even though it was mostly girls, which would have been much more a fun time than a physical challenge for me 20 years ago)… So, anyway, I imagine you do feel your age in these situations, whether you’re male or female, whether you were once beefy (though I never was exactly beefy) or not.

    It kind of amazes me, though, that 20 or 25 years down the road, there still are mosh pits!

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