I first saw Bob Mould on a solo acoustic tour around the time that 1989’s Workbook, his first solo record after the demise of Husker Du, came out. He played for more than an hour, barely looking up from his guitar, as he ripped through songs at the speed of sound. Fast forward to last night, when he came to the 9:30 Club on the 25th anniversary tour of that same record: Though he played the same songs with the same intensity, he was a different man. He was cheerful and funny, telling stories between songs and asking audience members who they’re listening to these days. He even gave a shout-out to ex-bandmates Brendan Canty and Rich Morel, who were in the audience, saying, “I learned a lot playing music here in D.C.”
Mould played with bassist/guitarist Jason Narducy and cellist Alison Chesley, who founded the band Verbow, and whose 1997 record Chronicles was recorded by Mould. As the trio played the lovely Verbow single “Holiday,” it seemed like a missing Workbook track in itself.
Mould wrapped up the night with favorites like “Helpless,” “Hoover Dam,” and “Descending,” and ended with a new one, “From the War,” from his forthcoming record, Beauty & Ruin, out in June. He said with a chuckle, “The new record feels like the culmination of a lot of things over the past couple of years. Who I am, what I feel, what I want…without being a dick.” It may have taken 25 years, but Mould seems to be at peace.
Show photos can be seen in the Gallery. Mould and company perform on tonight’s Late Night With David Letterman.