Bob Mould

Live Dog 98: The Forum, London UK

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This is a roaring, nasty live document of Mould's full-band tour in 1998. Having seen three or four gigs from the American leg, it's also quite a faithful document of the sheer overload of crunch the shows presented. Mould's fearsome guitar just buzzes, howls, reverberates, hisses, and explodes like a symphony of buzz saws. One puts this CD in the player, and then finds the nearest back wall to hold onto while enduring its gale-force blast. The backing group is not quite the dynamo that Sugar was; that is clear even without comparing the original with this version of "Man on the Moon." But neither was his this-tour-only Bob Mould band composed of any slouches. Second guitarist Michael Cerveris bolsters the leader's lead licks with his own hammering rhythm smacks. And bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Matt Hammon show an equal cruelty to their craft that would get them 30 days in the Ol' Blighty hoosegow if they ever took it out on a human instead of their instruments. And then, of course, one must deal with the relentless emotional overload that is Mould's heaving vocals and songs. Though he's mixed a tad low, his anguished yowls, occasional anguished shrieks, and continual striving against his upper range pierce the night like signal flares. There are times he rushes a bit through his melodies and playing, so intense is his vocal delivery keeping up with his blinding right hand (most of these songs are faster than the LP versions). It would be pointless to say much about the set list, as it matters not which of his first four solo LPs he picks from in this torrent. No, what you can't miss here is the steam coming out of your speakers as they try to reign in this explosive battering. Love it, love it, love it. You'll never get a better sonic beating than this!