SEATTLE — Tired of all the sun and weather references in Bumbershoot reviews? Nope? Neither are we. Especially because a sunny day in Seattle is as rare as a smiling Bob Mould onstage. (Not that he didn’t have plenty to smile about.)
While it was a perfect summer day in Seattle, there were a few things that made it even better — two of them we wrote about below.
When Bob Mould took to the stage Sunday afternoon at Bumbershoot in front of a crowd peppered with old-school punk rock fans, many of them with their children in tow, he swiftly created a sea of heads bobbing in unison to his one-two punch.
The 52-year-old and his bandmates ran through a dizzying set that spanned from his earliest solo work to Sugar and tracks from his latest, last year’s “Silver Age.” Moving with a pace that was a strong as a racehorse and galloping forward with precise energy and intent, Mould’s songs rarely clock in at more than 3 minutes, but nevertheless leave you breathless and waiting for more.
It’s true some things get better with age and Mould sounded as strong, vital, and relevant today as he did 25 years ago for those of us fortunate enough to have been listening.
Attacking each song with a youthful exuberance and a smile (yes, that was Bob Mould smiling onstage) the trio’s tautness also carried a contagious energy that seeped into the crowd.
There’s the old adage that if you’re going to keep doing something, then do it well and Mould proved to be living proof of that.
You could say it was a stoner’s wet dream – the Breeders, those cheeky chicks from Ohio – playing their classic 1993 album “Last Splash” in its entirety.
But to laud “Last Splash” as merely a rite-of-passage, basement oeuvre would discount the musical timelessness of the album.
With the original line-up, Kim Deal on vocals and guitar, twin sister Kelly mirroring her, Josephine Wiggs on bass and Jim Mcpherson on drums, the band approached the set with a calm, but studied demeanor. (Carrie Bradley on violin was the only new addition to the group.)
To be certain, there is no bass riff that – to this day – comes close to that on “Cannonball.” Snaky, but not slippery, the riff carries the song, making it buoyant and exuberant and as classic today as the day it was released.
“Do You Love Me Now?” was a sweet lament and its pace carried a just-on-the-edge-tears hesitancy. “Driving on 9” featured a nice back-and-forth between Kelly and Bradley while “Divine Hammer” reminded us all that while Frank Black may have gotten the lion’s share of attention in the Pixies, Kim certainly played an integral role.
Throughout the set, as each player stepped in and out, what it showed was that the song’s are much more intricate and carefully paced than the Middle America hooks might initially lead you to think. And in the end, those two chicks have still got it – in spades.