Bob Mould + Screamfeeder @ The Zoo, 08.03.2013

Bob Mould @ The Zoo, Friday 8 March 2013

If there’s one thing that happens on a regular occurrence in Brisbane, it’s weeks and weeks without any interesting gigs and then everyone playing on the same night. Tonight’s heavyweight clash is between Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at The Riverstage and Bob Mould playing Copper Blue at The Zoo. Relevant but a whole lot less interesting is that Presidents of The USA are also playing to a sold-out Hi-Fi tonight.

I’ve already been put in to photograph the Nick Cave show but The Zoo’s website has Bob Mould starting at 1030pm, giving a possible 30 minute window to get across town between the two venues, assuming that Nick Cave plays until the usual 10pm Riverstage curfew and that I stay until the end of end of the show. In retrospect, I probably should have been organised and looked to apply for some media accreditation but in the end a last minute decision is taken the night before the show to buy a ticket. The $49 ticket is about par for the course for an overseas act playing at The Zoo but the $6.10 booking fee that’s added to the ticket price can fuck right off.

I saw Sugar back in the day when they first toured Copper Blue and it’s always been one of my favourite albums from that time. I listen to it far more often than some of the more notable albums of that period and always consider that it’s a bit of a lost classic that’s been completely overshadowed by other loud guitar bands and musical movements of the early 1990s. It gets played far more regularly than anything by any of the grunge bands and any of those supposed ‘classic’ and seminal albums.

They’re another one of those bands where I can pinpoint when I first heard them, and with a bit of searching could probably find out the exact date. Having read about Copper Blue’s first single, ‘Changes’, I can distinctly remember being at The Cavern in Exeter and hearing a song playing over the PA in-between bands that used the word ‘changes’ a lot and put two and two together to work out this was the song I’d read about in the music press. I’m guessing that it must have been July/August 1992. I can’t remember the gig at The Cavern that night. It might have been The Family Cat; please don’t hold that against me.

I went and saw Sugar at The Riverside in Newcastle when they were touring the album. I found out recently that The Riverside, the place where I spent many an evening when I was at university and which has always been one of my very favourite venues, is now a gym, which breaks my heart a bit. I saw so many good shows there and it’s a place that has so many happy memories that it’s thoroughly depressing that it’s (probably) now a room full of guys on steroids strutting around in wife-beaters and admiring themselves in a series of floor-to-ceiling mirrors.

I can’t remember the support act that night, although I have a suspicion it was someone. My most vivid memory of the night is the band ploughing through the first three songs from Copper Blue – ‘The Act We Act’, ‘A Good Idea’ and ‘Changes’ at breakneck speed without pausing between songs, someone throwing their pint at Bob Mould and him understandably and aggressively jumping forwards and giving an angry middle finger in the general direction of this guy.

I didn’t expect it to be, but The Zoo is packed and heavy with the smell of middle aged man sweat. It might be an older crowd but it’s one that’s really into it, something that you just don’t get to see very often at gigs these days. Maybe it helps that this is a generation that didn’t grow up watching their gigs through a camera phone.

Talking of cameras, I had mine from the earlier Nick Cave gig and so sneak a few photos during the first song at the front before moving out of that space, taking a few shots from the side through the speaker stand and then the fight through the audience towards the back to watch the rest of the show.

I remember Sugar being good but not as good as they are tonight. It’s a great show with great sound and so loud with it. Although I take my ear plugs out when move away from the speakers and further towards the back of The Zoo, my ears are still ringing the next morning.

There was one disappointment in that the band didn’t play anything from Beaster, the follow-up EP to Copper Blue that is possibly even better than the debut. However, having tweeted about the absence of any of its songs, I’m told that the band had played ‘Come Around’ towards the middle of their set but some somehow I had managed to completely miss it. I had seen via that it had been on recent setlists so was even looking out for it but didn’t spot it at all. Then again I didn’t spot Cat Power covering Shivers a few nights earlier; maybe my once famous (and highly valued at quiz night) song recognition internal library is starting to fail in old age.

So somewhat embarrassingly, having made my feelings known via social media, I get a correction from someone in the band (bassist Jason Narducy)as to the songs in their setlist that they played at The Zoo.

So, in conclusion: Bob Mould >> Nick Cave.

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