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Live Review: Bob Mould & Screamfeeder

12 March 2013 | 3:38 pm | Steve Bell

The scene of mass adulation as the band exits attests that this is far more than a mere walk down memory lane – this is rock’n’roll at its pinnacle.

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The place is chockers, full of the excitement generated by people who don't get out that much anymore but who used to live for it back in the day. Pretty apt for local icons Screamfeeder, dusting off their gear after a lengthy hiatus, not that you'd know it given the way that they smash into opener Explode Your Friends like they've never been away. Static is powerful, Bunny seems to rock harder than ever and the three Feeders seem to be having a blast – drummer Dean Shwereb in particular a dynamo behind the kit – and the racket they make is noisy but joyous, sweeping the crowd along with them. They play the requisite hits (Dart, Hi Cs) and some lesser known tracks (Stopless, Broken Ladder) but it all works wonderfully, and when they clinch the deal with a killer Bruises, it's hard to imagine that they were ever away at all.

Strangely, tonight is the first time that Bob Mould has ever been here with a band – he's played acoustically and using backing tracks – and he wastes no time atoning for this oversight, the opening salvo being the first five tracks from Sugar's legendary Copper Blue album – The Act We Act, A Good Idea, Changes, Helpless, Hoover Dam – all sounding tight and punchy, Mould's distinctive voice cutting through the sweat-thick air like a knife. There's little fanfare, the trio – rounded out by Jason Narducy on bass and Superchunk's irrepressible Jon Wurster on drums – just getting on with the business while Mould throws himself around the stage with youthful abandon. It's not all a nostalgia fest though, a small break to introduce the band ushering in a suite of songs from Mould's 2012 solo album Silver Age and the drop in intensity and quality is negligible, songs such as Star Machine and Round The City Square sounding incredibly vital. A couple more Sugar songs are thrown into the mix – Beaster's Come Around and the title track from Your Favorite Thing – before the real highlight unfolds, Mould pulling out a trio of Hüsker Dü gems, the crowd whipped into a dervish as they finally get to hear Could You Be The One?, I Apologize and Chartered Trips in anger. The band march off but return quickly for an encore, hitting the enraptured mob with a frenetic take on Sugar classic If I Can't Change Your Mind and Hüsker's Celebrated Summer, before returning for a second encore and smashing all and sundry into oblivion with Flip Your Wig, Hate Paper Doll and the epic Makes No Sense At All.  The scene of mass adulation as the band exits attests that this is far more than a mere walk down memory lane – this is rock'n'roll at its pinnacle.