Britt Daniel, Craig Finn, No Age, Ryan Adams, Dave Grohl, and others
Bob Mould Tribute
November 21, 2011
You know how these lovefest all-star tributes to our legend-looming creative artists can get a bit treacly? This one, entitled "See a Little Light: A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould," wasn't, though the prevailing down-to-earthness meant there was little in the way of high drama, either.
But that's maybe fitting, as ex-Hüsker Dü/Sugar mainman Mould represents the triumph of the hardworking regular joe with a few things on his mind.
First up was Spoon's Britt Daniel, looking dapper in tight black suit and pointy shiny boots. He was the only performer on the bill who dressed up and not way, unfashionably down; he bashed out an apparently sincere and rather tuffbutt version of "The Act We Act" from Sugar's Copper Blue album and "JC Auto" from the Beaster record, aided guitarist/singer Jessica Dobson and Mould's touring rhythm section of Telekinesis' Jason Narducy on voice/bass and Superchunk fella John Wurster on drums.
MC/host Matt P kept up the between-song chitchat about the glory days of Bob, and how we oughtta pick up a copy of Mould's new autobiography, which he said was real good. (Bob himself declined to hype it, classy guy that he is.)
Punky-emo-rock-type singer Craig Finn did your twitchy regular-Midwestern-guy moves and sang his head off on Mould's "Real World" and "A Good Idea," and it was earnest and flat.
Comedian Margaret Cho told some funny stories about her enduring love for Mould's music and his humanity, then got to sing one of her faves, "Your Favorite Thing," accompanied by Grant-Lee Phillips on guitar. Things got kick-butted into high gear when Mould hisself joined No Age for "I Apologize" and "In a Free Land," wherein a hi-NRG unto roughhewn recklessness reared its gnarly head.
Mould stomped and flailed and bounced about like he certainly did like his own songs, and the No Age dudes brought an ace hairshirt minimalism to it. Ryan Adams on solo voice and guitar brought pleasing nuance and a shadowy intensity to "Heartbreak a Stranger" and "Black Sheets of Rain," and got the hugest cheers for his efforts -- until Dave Grohl came loping out.
The Foo Fighter /Nirvana man told MC Matt a pleasant tale of his hero-worhipping of Bob, then he and Mould proceeded to jackhammer a set of oldies including "Could You Be the One?" and "Ice Cold Ice." Grohl began the set on guitar, then sat down and bashed drums on "New Day Rising" -- and got a standing ovation.
Mould's own closing set of classics like "Hoover Dam" and "If I Can't Change your Mind" was prefaced by his expected little aw-shucks about getting a tribute when he wasn't even dead yet, etc., but he also emphasized how he has new roads to travel, new lands to conquer...well, he has no intention of retiring soon. Good!
Set List below
Britt Daniel and Jessica Dobson - The Act We Act, JC Auto
Craig Finn - Real World, A Good Idea
Margaret Cho and Grant-Lee Philips - Your Favorite Thing
No Age and Bob Mould - I Apologize, In a Free Land
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Ryan Adams - Heartbreak Stranger, Black Sheets of Rain
Dave Grohl and Bob Mould - Hardly Getting Over It, Could You Be the One?, Ice Cold Ice, Something I Learned Today, Chartered Trips, New Day Rising
Bob Mould - Hoover Dam, If I Can't Change Your Mind, Celebrated Summer, Makes No Sense At All
Everybody - See a Little Light