Monday, 15 February 2016

Memories of 2016 gigs #1 & #2

I'm not sure we're going to get to quite as many live shows as last year - 2015 was a particularly good year. But even though we've waited six weeks for our first shows of 2016, it's been worth it with two absolutely ear-blistering shows to kick us off...

#1: Bob Mould
The Globe, Cardiff - 10 February 2016
Support: Estrons

Bob Mould? At The Globe? What a prospect. If someone had come up to me and offered me a large bag of cash in exchange for my ticket, I'd have probably turned them down. Bob Mould, for chrissakes -  unmissable. My excitement reached new heights a few days before the show when I saw that Estrons were supporting. You'll remember them - they were the subject of a particularly popular Welsh Wednesday post a couple weeks back. Sadly, we arrived a little late and only caught their last two songs, but I can honestly say this band have it in them to be the next Wolf Alice. Taliesyn is a brilliant and striking frontwoman and the band as a whole sound amazing. Look out for them.

It's not often you get a bonafide LEGEND on your doorstep. When you do, you really hope they don't disappoint. Bob Mould nowadays looks like a kindly granddad, but he still rocks harder than most bands whose members are less than half his age. From the opening blast of the Sugar classics A Good Idea and Changes, this was fast, furious, ferocious stuff. Staying true to the power-trio line-up that has served him well throughout his career, Bob and his band seemed to be on a mission to cram as much into 75 minutes as they possibly could. Rarely pausing between songs, it was relentless. You can imagine the conversation during rehearsals:

Bob: "I wanna play all these songs."
Band: "But Bob, if we're going to play all those, we are going to have to play like bastards."
Bob: "Then play like bastards we shall!"

The set was rooted firmly in crowd-pleasing territory. With six Sugar songs (four of them from 'Copper Blue') and another five Hüsker Dü numbers, the long-terms fans were kept well happy. Perhaps strangely though, the solo stuff all came from his most recent three albums, including a selection from his as-yet unreleased new one. Mind you, I'm not complaining. I'm of the opinion that his recent solo career is as good as anything he's done.

Main highlights for me were Hey Mr Grey, Hoover Dam, If I Can't Change Your Mind (with a new vocal melody) and Hate Baby Doll. He even squeezed in a cover of Generation X's Your Generation which was every bit as brilliant as you think it was. Damn, I could write 10,000 words about this show with consummate ease, but I'd better reign myself in. I think you've got the message: this legend did not disappoint, even if he didn't play New Day Rising. I can forgive that. The rest of 2016 has a lot to live up to.

MrsRobster's verdict: The poor girl's been suffering with a bad back for more than a week. When I asked what she thought after the show, her reply made me think she was high on some extra-strong pain killers or something. "Like a curry that's really hot," she offered, cryptically. "Eh?" I understandably answered."Well, a curry that's too hot, you can't really taste it. A gig that's too loud, you can't hear it. I couldn't enjoy it."
A nice analogy, but sadly, this was one of those very rare occasions when MrsRobster was wrong. Bob and loud go together like poppadoms and mango chutney. You can't have one without the other. It sounded great to me!


#2: Snuff
The Globe, Cardiff - 12 February 2016
Support: Bad Cop Bad Cop, Spoilers

If Bob Mould was loud, the volume greeting us as we arrived at the Globe two nights later was deafening. Spoilers, from Canterbury, had found 12 on the volume knob and were blaring their fast, heavy punk at a ridiculous level. My ears actually were buzzing. MrsRobster came prepared - she had her earplugs and it proved to be a wise move. Fortunately, by the time the next band came on, it had been turned down to something far more bearable. A shame the band quickly became rather tiresome. Bad Cop Bad Cop are four women from LA who kind of look how you'd expect an all-girl punk band from LA to look. They sound like the Go-Go's would sound if they had more distortion pedals but left all their good songs at home. I'm not sure any decent punk bands have ever come out of LA. Let's face it - it doesn't have much to rebel against.

This Snuff tour is a triple celebration: the 30th anniversary of the band's existence; the 20th anniversary of the band's comeback record 'Demmamussabebonk'; and the release of a new 7-track EP 'No Biting'. Every Snuff gig feels like a celebration of sorts though, it's just a lot of fun all the way. The set did contain quite few songs from 'Demmamussabebonk' and the new record, but it did span the band's entire career with more than a few old faves thrown in: Somehow, I Know What You Want, Martin, Soul Limbo (aka the theme from the cricket), etc.

The audience played a big part in the show too. There was a box of song titles and fans were chosen at random to draw one for the band to play. A completely unrehearsed version of I Think We're Alone Now - a song they hadn't played for years - was aired because the bloke who requested it from the audience looked "really scary". Even one of the new songs prompted a mass singlalong, but then everyone knows the theme to Black Beauty, right? The main set ended with Arsehole, at which point the entire place went nuts, pretty much everyone singing "What an arsehole / What a fucking wanker" as one.

The final song of the night was another uproarious singsong, Snuff's famous version of the theme to Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads. No one could have left this show without a smile on their face.

MrsRobster's verdict: "Better than Bob Mould." Is that because she wore earplugs this time? "Probably." I did catch her smiling a few times, so I'm sure she enjoyed it!


Here's the video for Galloping Home (Theme From Black Beauty) from the new EP:


  1. I didn't go to see Bob in Mcr. I should have.

  2. Bob Mould was responsible for a couple of the loudest shows I've ever attended. I started the Husker Du gig at the Electric Ballroom about halfway back from the stage, but within a few songs had been forced flat against the wall at the back of the building by the sheer ferocity of the noise, unable to peel myself off until the end, by which time the place looked like a war zone.
    I saw Sugar a handful of times, but one show in particular sticks out as being on a par, volume wise, with Husker Du. On the way out at the end, a mate asked what I thought of their version of 'Armenia city in the Sky'. It was a song I loved, but I hadn't even been able to discern it through the cacophony.
    I think my favourite Bob Mould gig would have been the first I caught on the 'Workbook' tour, an album that contained some of his very best songs I reckon. Did he play anything from it at The Globe?
    Great reviews Robster. You got me fired up. I'm off to annoy the neighbours with some deafening early morning music!

  3. Snuff! I didn't know they were still going!! Every time when I went to London in the late 80's/early-mid 90's, I would meet up with John Peel and ask him if he could recommend a gig to go to. On one occasion he urgend me to see Snuff in a venue in Stoke Newington, which I did and they blew me away! What he didn't tell me though was that Stoke Newington is located quite some distance away from the City ... there was no tube or bus back and of course we couldn't afford a taxi then ... but a fabulous gig, nevertheless!

  4. Nice one - just come across your blog for the first time. I've lived in Brighton since 1989 and my first gig here was Snuff upstairs at The Richmond (now a student budget hotel...that is until I win the Lottery and buy it and rename it The Richmond!!). Great place.

    1. Welcome, and when you buy your venue, can I be on the guest list??? (Thanks for your Cardiacs comment too)

    2. Certainly! Cocktails included!
      Cheers :)