Concert Review: Bob Mould, the El Ray, Los Angeles, CA 10/15/2005
I'm the same age as Bob Mould, singer and guitarist for my favorite band for a decade, so when he walked by on his way back from a bad Baja Fresh dinner I just smiled. He, friendly as can be, stopped, and I thanked him for being in Husker Du. If I was 18 I'd probably just gawk and mumble "Hommina Hommina Hommina".
The El Ray is a bit seedy but it looks nice if you can't see well. This was the end of Bob's tour to promote Body Of Song, an excellent cd that sounds less electronic the more you listen to it. Shiny Toy Guns opened and they alternated between electronic dance music and the post-emo stadium rock I hear in my gym between slow jam hip hops. The female singer looks like Buffy and the hairy drummer like Animal from The Muppets. They're obviously a Big Thing band and if they make it, well, good for them. I went outside during their set and stared at Wilshire Blvd. Up the street, H.I.M. was playing, and their fans were young, dumb and lumpy. Here at the Bob show there were two groups: skinny kids to see Shiny Toy Guns and middle age fuggs like me here to see a an old hero only to look around and realize, hey, we're our parents now!
Bob and band came to pun crock, so "I Am Vision, I Am Sound" was rendered like "New Day Rising". The show opened with a few Sugar tracks, veered into Body Of Song, went back to Sugar and then ended with an emphasis on Husker Du classics, starting with "I Apologize", "Chartered Trips" (I laughed/sobbed with joy on this one) and "Celebrated Summer".
The band was great but the sound was lacking, which is how it is for me at most large shows. Either the sound check is designed to only sound good at the control board or it's just a given that most live shows sound like crap. Bands should tour with their own PA system and sound board. Volume should be secondary to a good sound. Like in martial arts, you work first on speed and accuracy, and then power.
This was my first show in maybe two years. I don't like concerts anymore. The thought of standing in a crowd of smelly, inconsiderate loudmouths doesn't have the appeal it once did.