Live Review: Bob Mould provides a masterclass of modern nostalgia at the Paradise

Awash in a sea of Gen-X dads and their flannel-clad offspring, the Paradise Rock Club arose in full-blown DIY revivalism Sunday night (May 1) as Bob Mould took the stage as part of his Patch The Sky tour.

Rolling through his entire catalog — spanning his Hüsker Dü, Sugar, and solo administrations — Mould was accompanied by Jon Wurster on drums and bassist Jason Narducy (both most notably of Superchunk), and got things rolling with “A Good Idea” and “Changes”, a dynamic pair from Sugar’s landmark 1992 disc, Copper Blue. The capacity crowd on Comm. Ave. ate up every word and immediately transported back to a place of days gone by.

Watching Narducy and Wurster work the stage is certainly a sight to behold in its own right. Narducy’s bass playing coupled with the ferocious percussive assault on the drums provided by Wurster keep time for the whole Mould stage show with the spot-on perfect sound and big time rock show fury one would expect in a room like the Paradise with a seasoned vet like Mould at the helm.

On this night, Mould’s Sugar material shone brightly, including a rousing rendition of “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.” Mould’s open chord strumming on the song gave each note the exact legroom needed to stand out clearly through the distortion pedal-fueled filter applied to the song. Mould’s newer material also fit right in to the set and felt like they had been a part of his repertoire for a long time. The first single off of last month’s Patch The Sky LP, “Voices in My Head”, is a classic Mould construction, complete with signature sing-along choruses. “The End of Things” sent Narducy into a frenetic dance spree with Fender bass in hand as the song’s chords chugged along at breakneck speeds.
Another new tune, “Daddy’s Favorite” was a highlight of the new material; the raucous track shook the Paradise’s cavernous clubroom to the foundation thanks to Mould’s milkshake thick distortion.

As Mould’s set wore on the trip back in time moved further and further back and the Midwest. Mould and company wound down the night with a slew of Hüsker Dü classics, including “Something I Learned Today” and set closer, “Celebrated Summer.”

However, as the encore rolled around, Wurster stepped up front and center to sing lead on a special cover of The Ramones’ classic “Beat on the Brat,” as opener Ted Leo took over the drums rocking a striped t-shirt and a pair of shorts that looked straight out of 1976. Wurster delivered a pretty spot-on Joey Ramone in a quick two-minute sing-a-long love letter to an influential album.

Leo acted as the show’s lone support act on Sunday night. Armed with a hollow-body guitar, an effects pedal, his song catalog, Leo stood on the stage clad in black like an indie rock Johnny Cash strumming through tongue-in-cheek fare. Leo ran through a solo set that touched on his work with The Pharmacists and his collaboration with local Boston treasure Aimee Mann, The Both. Leo even tried a little A/B testing in letting the audience choose a song for the set.

The crowd chose “Lonsdale Avenue”; a tune, as Leo put it so eloquently, that is the “saddest song [he’s] ever written.” Leo also played fan favorites like “Timorous Me” and “Me and Mia,” the latter of which still sounds as fun and fresh as it did when it was released just a pinch over a decade ago.

Follow Greg Cameron on Twitter @Greg_Cameron.