Displaying typically rigorous Bob-logic, the set is confined to songs Bob Mould recorded under the appellation 'Bob Mould' (apart from the inevitable wave goodbye through Sugar's 'Man On The Moon').
He said his forbidding 1996 eponymous album was “for me”. Bob Mould’s adieu to the rigours of performing with an electric band, this Last Dog And Pony Show feels like it’s primarily for others: a final chance for the faithful to bop ’til they drop at the feet of the man whose allegiance to the cathartic properties of adrenalinised melody and full-on amplification has finally waned after 20 years. These are people for whom ‘style’ is a type of fence and the words to every song are there to be recited verbatim.
Displaying typically rigorous Bob-logic, the set is confined to songs Bob Mould recorded under the appellation ‘Bob Mould’ (apart from the inevitable wave goodbye through Sugar’s ‘Man On The Moon’). Thus, as well as generous swipes from the last two post-Sugar records, we hear a few selections from his two post-H|sker D|, pre-Sugar solo albums. While the harder of the core might remember what ‘I Stand Guard’ from ‘Black Sheets Of Rain’ sounds like, singing along presents a considerable challenge.
A man of greater sentiment and lesser integrity would have unleashed the full H|skers/Sugar hitfest, encoring with a ‘Zen Arcade’/’Beaster’ medley (yum!), then announced the 2000 comeback tour. Mould simply cares too much for his art to pander along these lines. His current band is wholly competent, but emulating the combustible chemistry Mould found, then lost, with others is not its business. Instead, attention is reserved for the man himself, skipping around with all the calm euphoria of a child about to finish school forever. During ‘Classifieds’, a group of lads linedance their way through the moshpit. Our reluctant idol has to laugh.
Even the encore is a joke, of sorts. Originally aimed at H|sker D| diehards unhappy at Mould’s new direction (“[I]The times they changed and so did I[/I]”), ‘Disappointed’ is now a Mach 2 slap round the head for anyone mourning the passing of Electric Bob. “Thanks. It was so good,” he says, finally. With that, Bob Mould switches off the sound that drowned out a generation’s neuroses for the last time. Listen hard and you might just hear it, fading away into history.