Bubala, Mumi & Max

Monday, March 17, 2008

Big Bad Bob Bear Comes Out Of Hibernation With A Roar

Lights...

A two city field report for absent friends…

March 14 2008 The Philly Show:

I was laying on my bed after a long work week, very tired and crabby and wanting to spend the evening quietly by myself and with Bubala. Maybe I'll read a G.I. Joe comic, watch some Boomerang or play with Max. Now that I've been 41 for all of a week, these are the good times that I cherish. The down time. Even with Bob Mould tickets in hand, I was seriously thinking of blowing it off and just staying home. The thought of a two hour drive to Philly made it all seem that much more unappealing.

Then, I got to thinking. I've been going to Bob Mould concerts for over half of my life now. Do I really want to screw up that long chain of Bob shows just because I'm old and crabby? (Growing old, it's hard to be an angry young man!) Besides, if this guy can overcome his obstacles and get to a show to see his friends play, then I certainly have no valid excuse not to.

Mumi Nerd

So, I pulled it together, brushed my teeth and combed my… um, never mind. I put on one of my vintage Bob tee-shirts (#2, Black Sheets. Notice how much the artwork looks like a CD long box! Truly a time period piece!) I had recently taken the shirt out of storage and washed it just for this occasion. Yeah, I'm the guy who wears the tee-shirt to the concert of the band I'm going to see. In my defense, if I didn't wear the shirts to the shows, I wouldn't wear them at all. That's why, almost 20 years later, they are still in such great shape.

Bubala and I made our way up to Philly in a couple of hours even though that stupid bitch on the GPS took us the long way! We made it to The Trocadero just as they were letting folks in. (Much too early, I might add!) The place was dead except for a few early birds like us.

The opening band, Halou, came on. I quite enjoyed them. They reminded me of a Norwegian Prog band called White Willow that I am quite fond of. The crowd seemed to pick up a bit and as Halou was ending their set, so we made our move to the front of the stage. I like to be close. It's just my thing. It makes me feel even more a part of the music. And besides, Bob is vision. Bob is sound.

The Troc has a huge 5 foot plus stage though, so the band would be towering above us. This drunk guy next to us said "I can't believe I'm gonna be this fucking close to Bob fucking Mould! Wooo hooo!" I figured that this was a good time to plug in the old trusty Hearos. I'm responsible. I use protection, so I'll be able to hear the next day.

Bob Mould

The crowd had built up quite a bit on the main floor by the time Bob was about to come on, and the seated balcony area above was already full. The Troc is an old theater. I've seen a lot of good shows there including Bob at a seated performance on the Carnival of Lights and Sound tour. The lights started to dim and the cheers picked up as the four guys made their way out onto the stage. Before you knew it, we were off and running at a furious pace. The Act We Act, Good Idea, I Hate Alternative Rock… It almost felt like the air around us was going to crack. They were playing so fast.

Bob Mould

There were quite a few surprises as the set progressed. Songs like Hanging Tree and Can't Help You Any More were taken out of storage like my tee-shirts. They even played an old Husker Du song called Divide and Conquer that I've never seen performed live before. There was also an extended jam at the end of Chartered Trips where Bob did some crazy intense playing. I'm pretty sure that I even heard him riffing on Dreams Reoccurring somewhere in there.

Bob was his usual frantically in control self, burning up his fret board and unleashing his furious demons before us all. This is in sharp contrast to that other side of him that we sometimes see as a local D.C. bud who drinks bottled water and is quite easy to engage in a conversation. Rich Morel was looking as handsome as always, just sporting a mustache now. I did have some trouble hearing him play from where I was standing right in front of Bob's amps. Oh yeah, both Bob and Rich have great looking arms. I'm a gay guy. I notice these things.

Jason did a fantastic job, and he's got some pretty big shoes to fill given Bob's past bass players. Jason fills those shoes well, however, and even has some room to wiggle his toes, jump around and sing back-up vocals too. New drummer, Rob Black, (I think that's what Bob said his name was!) did a great job holding down the beat at extremely fast tempos. I was very impressed.

All too fast though, the show was over and the band said good night. We made our way out to the merchandise stand and Bubala bought the new tee-shirts and that cool new lithograph of Bob's face which looks fantastic and even a little bit trippy when you look real close at it. We left Philly at 11pm, and we were both back home in bed in Glen Burnie by 12:45am. Not bad!

Philly Set List:

The Act We Act
Good Idea
I Hate Alternative Rock
I see a Little Light
Hoover Damn
I Am Vision I Am Sound
The Silence Between Us
Hanging Tree
Miniature Parade
My Favorite Thing
Again And Again
Circles
Paralyzed
Can't Help You Anymore
I Apologize
Celebrated Summer
Divide And Conquer

Chartered Trips
Makes No Sense At All

March 15, 2008 The DC Show:

Bubala worked on Saturday afternoon while I took advantage of the nice weather and rode another 25 miles around the BWI Airport on my bike. I was still all amped up and energized by Bob's show last night. So, with Bob's new album and a few packets of Sugar playing on my I-pod, I hit the trail. As I was cycling, I remembered, with a smile, what that drunk guy next to me said as we were leaving the concert last night. He said, "What a great concert! That's one I'll remember for a long time." That's kind of how I look at it as well. All the CD's and tee-shirts and posters are just the toys we collect while we're alive. It's the memories that you hopefully will be able to take with you when you go, so I collect those as well. That's why on Saturday night, we crossed over that District Line into our nation's capitol and went to the infamous 9:30 Club to watch Bob play it all over again and again.

Mumi Nerd

We headed out a little before 7pm for an 8:30pm show time. This time, I would be displaying vintage T-shirt #1, Workbook. (Not for sale!) We arrived while Halou was playing. It was much more crowded than the Philly show last night. There was still a bit of space left up against the stage, so we made a move for our favorite spot. (Refer to the inside artwork of your Circle of Friends DVD case for exact location.) We stayed right there for the rest of the night. This show was much closer and in your face than the last time Bob played the 9:30 Club. There wasn't a camera crew or pit, and it was a 3 foot stage instead of that big tall one at the Troc.

Bob Mould

It was an even better show than Philly. The DC show was a little longer also and Bob gave that much more, exhausting his voice a bit, which made him sound even better. I do so love that gritty, raspy, dirty Bob style of singing. This isn't slick airbrushed music, folks! This is the real thing. The show even included a surprise stage diver right between Bob's microphone stand and my face. It was a classic retro old 9:30 Club moment. It gave everyone onstage a laugh.

Bob Mould

I guess because the new album, District Line, just came out, Bob doesn't want to play a whole lot of it just yet. He did the same thing back when he finally toured after the Hubcap album. I really like District Line a lot though, so I must admit, I was a little disappointed that he didn't play more of it live. There was a sense right away that the new songs were old friends of mine that I just needed to get reacquainted with. I have I-pod tested District Line at the gym and on the bike, and I really think that it's one of Bob's best solo albums. So, maybe if those of you who didn't buy it yet, go ahead out and buy it, and if we all keep listening to it, that will be a good excuse for a Bob Mould Fall tour! (hint, hint, HINT!)

DC Set List:

The Act We Act
Good Idea
I Hate Alternative Rock
I see a Little Light
Hoover Damn
I Am Vision I Am Sound
The Silence Between Us
Hanging Tree
Miniature Parade
My Favorite Thing
Again And Again
Circles
Paralyzed
Can't Help You Anymore
I Apologize
Celebrated Summer
Divide And Conquer

Egoveride
If I Can't Change Your Mind

Chartered Trips
Makes No Sense At All

A lot of performers find that playing shows in their hometown is more difficult than playing around the rest of the country. Not only because of the usual "Can you get me on the list?" requests from everyone and their Aunt Helen. There is also always that push to give something extra because you are not just playing for a bunch of fans in some other city, you are playing for your family, friends, and the community that you live in. I could see a sense of "We're home" on Bob's and Rich's faces since this is their DC Blowoff hangout. It certainly wasn't a chance for them to slack off though. In fact, on this night, these guys had to pull a double. Rock and roll concert for the dinner crowd and gay dance party for the graveyard shift. I hope everyone took a nap.

Bubala decided that he was too tired to stay out late, so we decided, much to my dismay, to pass on Blowoff this month. I had wanted to thank Bob for such a great weekend. Ah well! That gives me an extra month to work off this winter gut so I can take my shirt off next month. Woo Hoo!

Now, as I look up and see how long this blog is, I am left with that feeling of why I gave up blogging before in the first place… "Everything I say to you feels stupid now."

2 Comments:

Blogger clickboo said...

It was a great concert... It's comforting seeing you guys perched up front in your spot. :) I was up in the balcony. Sorry you missed BLOWOFF and I missed you at Pakt the next day. ;-)

10:01 AM  
Blogger Dumbek said...

Good seeing you boys - as always. Wish you could have stuck around.

3:44 PM  

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