Calm Before the Storm

Bob Mould

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Calm Before the Storm Review

by Chris True

In 1991, the next step for Bob Mould looked fairly uncertain. Split from his label, Virgin, Mould took it on himself to work on new material and pay the bills by doing low-key solo shows all over the place, including this show recorded in McCabe's Guitar Shop in Los Angeles that year. Usually, Kiss the Stone bootlegs (almost ubiquitous in independent record shops in the mid- to late '90s) can be a precarious purchase, but this is one of their gems. The sound is a bit off-putting, as it is essentially just Bob and a PA, but nitpicking aside, Mould's between-song banter (usually pretty warm and humorous) and song choices make this disc a must-have for fans. He chooses not to limit himself to solo work, and Hüsker Dü songs like "Celebrated Summer," "Could You Be the One?," and "Makes No Sense at All" are welcome, given that he wouldn't play them in a solo electric setting for another 14 years. Sugar tunes get a bit of a preview ("The Act We Act"), and also featured are two solo songs that never made his albums ("Can't Fight It" from the No Alternative compilation, and "Walls in Time"). If one must nitpick, the one drawback is his choice to use electric for "See a Little Light," which throws off the continuity of the disc. (Don't let the cover art fool you -- this is not from the Beaster tour, as Mould's shirt would attest. KTS was notorious for tacking on any art they could find.) Overall, a great bootleg, a great set list, and a must-have disc for any Bob Mould fan.

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