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If you thought Mould had gotten the nostalgia bug out of his system at last September’s extraordinary Williamsburg Park show – which featured the whole of his recently-reissued 1992 Sugar LP Copper Blue and ended with seven Hüsker Dü songs – you guessed wrong. In fact, 15 of this night’s 21 songs were 21+ years old: seven from Copper Blue (including its first five numbers to open the show) and eight Hüsker tunes. Along with the handful of songs he played from his newest album Silver Age, the encore-opening “Egøverride,” from his 1996 self-titled third LP, was the sole representative of his nine pre-Silver solo albums. And if you thought Mould and his band – ex-Verbow bassist Jason Narducy and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster – might be a little rusty, this being the first show on the tour and all, well…you guessed wrong again. The band sounded even more on fire than five months ago, with Narducy’s and Wurster’s hefty yet fluid rhythms constantly sending Mould’s propulsive, buzzing guitar to Shuttle launch intensities.
With the exception of the back-to-back slower tempos of Silver’s “Steam of Hercules” and Hüsker’s pretty “Hardly Getting Over It” (from 1986’s Candy Apple Grey), there was almost no respite from the set’s searing, pulse-quickening pace. Silver Age standouts “The Descent” and “Round the City Square” “moulded” nicely with Copper Blue sensation “Fortune Teller,” while Hüsker killers “I Apologize” (from 1985’s New Day Rising) and “Chartered Trips” (from 1984’s Zen Arcade) – the latter featuring a frenzied Mould guitar solo – highlighted the main set’s second half. And though we didn’t get Portlandia/Saturday Night Live star Fred Armisen guesting on guitar like he did at the next night’s Bowery Ballroom show (reviewed by Matthew Berlyant here), the encore was still special. The band closed with four songs from Hüsker Dü’s 1985 Flip Your Wig: the title track, “Hate Paper Doll,” “Makes No Sense At All,” and “Divide and Conquer.” Since Flip was the first punk album I ever bought, on cassette in the late 1980’s after reading a review in my newly-purchased Trouser Press Record Guide – this rip-roaring, eardrum-bursting show ended with a nice stroll down memory lane!
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