Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Bob Mould wins as Raptors lose

The Toronto Raptors threw a bit of a wrench into the start of my Canadian Music Week festival plans by playing a nail-biter of a game one in their National Basketball Association playoffs against the Miami Heat.

Bob Mould hit the Horseshoe Tavern stage with time running out in the game, which was extended into overtime through an unlikely half-court shot by Kyle Lowry as regulation time ran out.

So, my apologies to Mould, bassist Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster if my attention was divided through the first 20 minutes of your set -- particularly because it hit the ground running at full speed by beginning with back-to-back Sugar dynamos in "A Good Idea" and "Changes." Luckily, as you'd expect from a Mould show, the volume was loud enough that I could hear everything from the rear of the back room and even when ducking into the front bar for hoops updates.

Those two opening salvos thankfully weren't the last Sugar songs we'd hear, as Mould dipped into his impressive catalogue that dates back 35 years with generous helpings of Husker Du and solo songs filling out a 70-minute set.

Mould's Fender Stratocaster still both shimmers and quakes, full of power but still with enough subtlety that he doesn't totally bludgeon the listener. His voice shows no signs of strain and adapts well to each song as they almost bleed into each other, as banter is kept to a minimum. Narducy and Wurster, excellent musicians in their own right, have been with Mould for years and it shows. The rhythm section was in lockstep with the frontman, creating a ferocious power trio -- the lineup composition that Mould has always preferred.

I've yet to hear all of Mould's new Patch The Sky album, but I'm sure that there were a few numbers from it thrown in to the set that fit the mood and tempo of the rest of his repertoire.

Song selection definitely wasn't an issue. With a resume as long as Mould's, there are always going to be songs that you want to hear and don't. And now that I've probably reached double digits in seeing him in various incarnations, there likely aren't a lot that I'm aching to hear for the first time.

Tuesday night's set progressed with the likes of Sugar's "If I Can't Change Your Mind," solo number "See A Little Light," Husker Du's "I Apologize," solo track "Tomorrow Morning," the new "Losing Time" and Husker Du's "In A Free Land." Husker Du's "Hardly Getting Over It" then offered a nice respite and slowed things down after a frantic pace.

It didn't take long to crank things back up with Husker Du's "Celebrated Summer," which ended the set.

The musicians left the stage for less than two minutes before returning for a short encore capped off by the Husker Du cover of Sonny Curtis' "Love Is All Around," which some might know better as the Mary Tyler Moore theme, and the Husker Du standby "Makes No Sense At All."

Mould, Narducy and Wurster will be doing it all again tonight at the Horseshoe as Canadian Music Week kicks into a higher gear with more venues getting involved.

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