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Bob Mould Live at Manchester Academy 3 (and Sugar and Me)

Photo of Bob Mould live at Manchester Academy 3, May 2013

I grew into music in the late 90s with bands such as Feeder, Superdrag and Teenage Fanclub - three in particular I couldn't get enough of. I wanted to hear more of the same and inevitably looked to their influences, which led me to Bob Mould's cult legends Hüsker Dü and Sugar. Nirvana, and maybe even The Pixies, may not have existed if Hüsker Dü hadn't paved their way, but it was Sugar that did it for me.

Bob's doin' somethin' funnyJason Narducy and Jon Wurster live with Bob Mould at Manchester Academy 3, May 2013

Despite the odd few songs, I'd never appreciated Bob Mould's solo material as much as Sugar, so hadn't been inclined to see his band live (not knowing how much Sugar material he'd play, if any at all considering his massive back catalogue). That all changed when it was announced that Sugar's brilliant Copper Blue album would be played in full in London last year....only I had a dilemma...my favourite band these days, British Sea Power, were playing Open Season in full on the same night - this was an album whose tours I'd completely missed back in 2005. I chose British Sea Power.

So it was awesome to hear The Act We Act open the set at Manchester's Academy 3 for my first live experience of the Bob Mould blast of sound. The guitar sounded even more fearsome than it does on record, with Bob Mould's authoritative vocals rising above it. Wow!

The Copper Blue tracks continued relentlessy, with A Good Idea, Changes and Helpless, and only a brief pause by the band for Bob to ask "if it was loud enough." Hoover Dam, again from Copper Blue, was a perfect song to quieten things down with, perhaps even get out the acoustic guitar, but nope - it was just as loud as the others!

Bob Mould live at Manchester Academy 3, May 2013

I mentioned not quite enjoying Bob Mould's solo material as much as Sugar, but that changed last year with the release of Silver Age, the most Sugar-esque album of his solo career. My favourite from that album, Star Machine, followed, and sounded just as good as anything in tonight's set.

Jason Narducy, bass guitarJason Narducy (with Bob Mould) live at Manchester Academy 3, May 2013Jon Wurster, drumsJon Wurster (with Bob Mould) live at Manchester Academy 3, May 2013

At some point during the gig the vocals got lost behind everything else, and some songs, particularly If I Can't Change Your Mind and Come Around (from Beaster) would have benefited from an extra guitar.

Hüsker Dü tracks featured heavily towards the end of the set and in the encore, and my ears were still ringing 2 or 3 days later. It certainly was an experience I enjoyed on the whole; with the continuous onslaught of noise the only criticism I'd make. Even after one gig, I gather it's the Bob Mould way - he even left his guitar on a continuous loop in the gap before the encore.

Given the chance I'll see Bob Mould live again - in future I'd love to hear an acoustic Hoover Dam, and full-on Gift, from File Under: Easy Listening, which only had one representative tonight. I know it's unlikely, but I'd love a FU:EL anniversary gig too...

Photos taken with a Canon Powershot G1 X compact camera.

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Alex has used these cameras:
Canon Powershot G3
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Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro