Bob Mould -- Largo at the Coronet -- July 27, 2011
Lincoln Andrew DeFer
Largo at the Coronet
Better Than...smashing police cars at aborted raves.
The Crowd: White people with glasses, and white people sans glasses.
Honestly, what's less rock 'n roll than a book reading? This isn't the 1840s, and someone reading aloud from the printed page no longer qualifies as entertainment. That said, Bob Mould's appearance at Largo at the Coronet last night behind his new memoir, See A Little Light, was as much concert as reading, with the former Husker Du and Sugar front man switching off between his 300+ page hardback and his electric guitar.
For devotees of an artist who rocked amphetamine-driven punks in the late '80s and MDMA-inspired gay clubbers in the late '90s, the crowd was tremendously sedate. Only one person clapped when Mould mentioned his latest record, Life and Times, and when he talked about coming out of the closet and becoming a "bear," there was nervous laughter.
But these folks nonetheless had the right idea. After all, if you take my word for it, See A Little Light is a treat, an absolutely-first-tier rock autobiography, helped along by the steady hand of co-writer Michael Azerrad. One didn't even feel bad for Mould that nearly half the seats were empty in the petite theater; after all, folks paid $25 bucks both for tickets and for books.
One reason for the soporific air was the venue's no-drinking policy, though that's perhaps fitting considering Mould gave up booze decades ago. The other was the fact that, in between long, long readings from various chapters, Mould was playing without a rhythm section. It would have been cruel to expect the return of the dog and pony show, but still, I've heard ringtones with greater sonic oomph than this version of "Hoover Dam."
Nonetheless, much like booty model Buffie the Body's successfully transition into lit, it's nice to see Mould -- who has to sleep with the TV on due to all the abuse his ears have taken over the years -- move into a line of work marginally less stressful on the body. That said, even he wasn't sure how he felt about all this, cutting short his talk because he was "sick of" reading from the book. By way of apology, he played "I Apologize." There are worse ways to spend a sober evening.
Personal Bias: I'm a Minnesota native, where Mould's popularity rivals Michelle Bachman's.
Random notebook dump: Mould mentioned that he and and a former partner had for a time taken on a third, making them a "thruple."
See A Little Light
Sinners and Their Repentances
The Act We Act
If I Can't Change Your Mind
Life And Times
I'm Sorry, Baby, But You Can't Stand In My Light Anymore
Something I Learned Today