Looking every bit his 48 years with full grey beard and glasses, don't count out Bob Mould just yet. Proving that he is as relevant as ever, Mould played a solo electrified set to a packed house last night at Philadelphia'a North Star Bar. The Husker Du and Sugar guitar legend has been making solo records for twenty years now (starting with the acclaimed "Workbook"), leading us to his latest album "Life and Times", due out on Tuesday April 7th. And while it may seem strange to think of Mould playing solo for the crowd without a full band, it's not far fetched since that's the way Mould typically works - writing, producing, and recording his songs by himself (with the exception for this album of Jon Worster of Superchunk on drums). Mould's guitar work is so rich and satisfying that you don't really miss a band all that much anyway, especially in light of an intimate venue like the North Star. Of course there are two sides of Bob Mould as seen in his body of work: the angry, brooding punk and the more introspective sensitive soul, heard more often in the newer songs. "I'm a kind soul now, I've gotten all that out of my system....kinda", Mould cajoled the crowd. You would never know that by the way he tore into the songs of his set, with an intensity only explained by the ferocity of his music and the depth of his lyrics.
Opening with "Wishing Well" (from aforementioned "Workbook"), Mould played much of his iconic songbook that still heavily resonates with the Gen-X crowd: "Hoover Dam", "See A Little Light", "Poison Years","Brasilia Crossed with Tenton", "Circles" (from 2005's "Body of Song"), "The Silence Between Us" (off last year's "District Line"), and "Your Favorite Thing". The main set was also peppered with brand new songs, such as "Life and Times", "The Breach", and the self-admitted best song Mould's written in a long time "I'm Sorry, Baby, But You Can't Stand in My Light Anymore". Mould explained that the new album is more somber than his usual body of work, promising the crowd one more new one "and then we'll rock". As promised, Mould switched out his acoustic for his favorite blue Strat from the 80s and let loose. Afterwards, Mould played an encore of four crowd favorites (including three from Husker Du days): "I Apologize", "Celebrated Summer", "If I Can't Change Your Mind", and "Makes No Sense At All". At that Mould gave the crowd a double thumbs up, no doubt pleased with the energy in the room and the response to both the new and old songs. Mould was gracious and hung out with fans after the show, signing merch and chatting it up with Girl About Town. We were excited to learn that Mould is working on an autobiography due out next year, and he will be back in Philly this coming October presumably with a full band in support of "Life and Times".