Although my birthday was on October 3, I had to wait until last night for my birthday present...seeing Bob Mould at Doug Fir Lounge. Bob was the guitar player and driving influence behind Husker Du in the 80s (and Sugar in the 90s). Husker Du was one of my favorite bands during the Reagan years, and Bob was a major influence on my guitar sound and approach during a subsequent period in my punk band in Chicago. It was good to see the old guy in action again. I'd seen him twice before, once with Husker Du on their last tour together in...er...1987. Then I saw him again on my -- ew, 37th? -- birthday in Chicago during one of his acoustic tours ten years later.
"Double-plus bonus" was that Bob's drummer this time out was from another one of my favorite punky bands of the 90s, Fugazi.
Bob is kind of a rarity in rock...an openly gay man with full-on punk cred. And he plays a Gibson Flying V! (Although he didn't last night, durn it!). His songs tend to be introspective and very loud at the same time.
So how was the show? Really good. Bob and the band were in fine form, and, as I expected, it was inspiring to hear his mighty guitar roar and unique chord voicings again. Doug Fir also was a great place to see him, as it's a pretty intimate venue. The room was perhaps 40 ft. x 40 ft with low ceilings, and we were not more than 20 feet from the stage, with a great view from some steps that lead down into a sort of "sunken living room/mosh pit". I'd seen on-line the set list that the band had played from previous shows, and he didn't vary much from that. Which was a shame...I shouldn't have looked at it because I might have enjoyed the show more had I been surprised by the selections. ("Ooooh! He's playing "Chartered Trips" from "Zen Arcade!") But that's my own fault.
The experience of seeing a live show for the first time in probably five years was almost as interesting as the show itself. First, it was a bit of an older crowd given the artist's long history. Argotnaut has already commented on the non-smoking crowd, which was a real blessing. The weirdest thing was that Portland folks seem to actually cue up in an orderly line at the bar. "In my day," (insert wheezy old geezer voice here) "ya had to elbow your way up to the bar and yell your order like a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange!"
Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera, because that's frowned upon in some venues and I was afraid it'd be confiscated. But I needn't have worried -- there were a few folks actually videotaping the show with camcorders! Perhaps that's another thing that's changed in the last few years, what with picture-taking cell phones and whatnot. So instead of Bob Mould, here's a photo of Buddy doing yoga on Argotnaut's new yoga mat. I'm sure Bob would be okay with this, since at least it's a photo of a cute boy!