Whelans seemed a small venue for the first visit of guitar legend Bob Mould to Ireland in 10 years, and to Dublin in 16 years. First up was Katie Malco who played laidback, singer-songwriter stuff on left-handed guitar, including a nice version of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting.
Bob Mould emerged on stage to a rousing reception, completely solo on electric guitar. He started with 2014’s call to arms The War. Playing songs across a 40-year back catalogue, he ripped into Husker Du classics Flip Your Wig and I Apologise. Stand Guard sounds like a song he has grown into, and his performance of it was in some ways superior to the recorded version. Gnarly versions of See A Little Light and Sinners and Their Repentances sounded great. More recent material from 2020’s Blue Hearts also featured, playing Forecast of Rain and a breakneck speed Siberian Butterly.
After a brief standoff regarding the air conditioning which couldn’t seem to remain on or off, he asked the crowd if they wanted “up or down”. With “up” selected, we got plenty of Husker Du classics, Never Talking To You Again, Hate Paper Doll, and Something I Learned Today all dispatched in 2 and a half minutes. At times a rhythm section was missed, particularly for solo material such as Voices In My Head, though Mould creates a mighty noise with relatively simple guitar chords. The one song that he seemed to revel in was Celebrated Summer, where he even slowed proceedings down briefly! His Sugar days were largely ignored except for a rocking version of If I Can’t Change Your Mind. The night was rounded off with a mass singalong to Makes No Sense At All, sending the audience out happy, “walking around with their heads in the clouds”.