Bob Mould kicked off his American tour by playing Sugar‘s seminal album Copper Blue in its entirety. The show, originally scheduled for Webster Hall in Manhattan, was moved to Williamsburg Park in Brooklyn.
Cymbals Eat Guitars opened the free show with an early set. The crowd was kind of scattered around the venue, which is not so much a park as a giant slab of blue concrete. Singer/guitarist Joseph D’Agostino was plagued by guitar troubles, but that didn’t slow them down. The band screamed and sweat through songs like “And the Hazy Sea,” and their newer, less erratic songs recalled Mould’s transition away from the hardcore punk of the first few Hüsker Dü albums.
Even about 30 years after that transition, Mould is still a powerful force on stage. With bassist Jason Narducci and drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, the Mountain Goats), he roared through Sugar’s debut Copper Blue.
With amps and energies high, Mould and the band made it all the way through the album without stopping for air. After the album’s closer, ”Man on the Moon,” Mould paused to talk to the crowd. Williamsburg was a fitting start for the tour celebrating Copper Blue‘s twentieth anniversary, Mould explained, since he wrote the whole album a few blocks from the park.
The tour also supports Mould’s newest album, Silver Age. After the brief pause, they played three songs from that album, “Star Machine,” “The Descent” and “Round the City Square.” The songs, especially “The Descent,” sound heavily influenced by Sugar. After “Round the City Square,” they played a set of Hüsker Dü songs: “Hardly Getting Over It,” “Could You Be the One?,” “I Apologize” and “Chartered Tips,” before closing with another new song, “Keep Believing.”
When the band came back for an encore, they brought up Craig Finn from the Hold Steady. Finn, dragging his mic stand all over the stage, shouted the words of Hüsker Dü’s “Something I Learned Today.” After Finn left the stage, Mould, Narducci and Wurster did another classic “In a Free Land.” The crowd demanded a second encore, though, and the band came back to perform “Makes No Sense at All.”