Tag Archives: Hüsker Dü

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Patti Smith Celebrates and Pays Tribute at SummerStage on Thursday

September 15th, 2017

Patti Smith and Her Band – SummerStage – September 14, 2017

“Most of these songs I wrote for Fred, with Fred or about Fred,” said Patti Smith last night on Central Park’s SummerStage. It would have been the 69th birthday of Fred “Sonic” Smith, Patti’s late husband and the father of her two children, Jackson Smith and Jesse Paris Smith. Patti Smith has been part of New York City royalty for decades now, her role in the art world, contributions to music and writing, her ability to find herself by chance in the midst of history’s cool and famous since she first stepped foot here in the late ’60s. But the intimate knowledge of her personal life is relatively recent news for her fans. Smith’s memoirs, Just Kids and M Train, share stories about the love and loss of her best friend, Robert Mapplethorpe, and her husband. They also let in the world on the person behind the art, her uncanny ability to find the sacred in everything and even just a good cup of coffee in a local diner. Knowing this is how she experiences the world made a noteworthy performance to honor and remember her late husband all the more special and intimate.

With her son on guitar and daughter on keyboards, Smith played through a catalog inspired by or written with her husband, gone since 1994 but an inspiration ever since. “Fred, this is the product of many day dreams,” she said as an introduction to “Because the Night” (written with Bruce Springsteen). Smith shared how “Looking For You (I Was)” was penned for their anniversary, a love song written for the city of Detroit, her home in the early years of her married life, written while she was in NYC. The show was full of memorials for others, too. Smith dedicated “Ghost Dance” to the activists who took a stand at Standing Rock; “Dancing Barefoot” to Amy Winehouse, who would have turned 34 on Thursday; “Peaceable Kingdom,” to Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart, who passed away earlier in the day; “Pissing in a River” dedicated to legendary writer Sam Shepard, a close friend who passed away earlier this year. Despite all of these memorials, the performance never stopped feeling like a celebration. Messages sprinkled throughout were delivered with a sense of urgency: “We are free!” and “The people have the power!” Later, triumphantly holding aloft her guitar, Smith yelled, “This is the only fucking weapon we need!”

These are the messages Patti Smith was born to spread. Joined by her now adult children, she  took some moments to try to embarrass them a little, noting her daughter’s willingness to always give her mom her bobby pins. She’s also still wickedly funny, ending some stage banter with: “What am I talking about? I just turned 70. You know when you turn 70 your mind works … in mysterious ways.” But she remains the no-bullshit punk rocker she always was, bringing out the rock and roll animal inside her to dominate the stage for the set-closing “Land.” Even when performing other people’s songs, like Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” the message felt as much hers as theirs. R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, a longtime fan and friend, joined Smith to sing happy birthday to Fred and also to close the show with “People Have the Power.” It was a perfect way to end a night that remembered a powerful artist and reminded everyone there of the most powerful message of all—delivered by the woman he loved. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks


Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Bob Mould Continues to Rock

February 27th, 2013

Bob Mould – The Bowery Ballroom – February 26, 2013


To get started last night at The Bowery Ballroom, Bob Mould needed just a little bit of help. Something was wrong with his guitar’s connection to the amp, but with just a tap by his stage manager, the blue Fender kicked to life. “I’m out of my mind,” Mould said laughing as he ripped into “The Act We Act” to start the show. Needless to say, Mould didn’t need any help after that.

Backed by Jason Narducy on bass and Superchunk’s Jon Wurster on drums, Mould breathlessly tore through highlights of his impressive musical career. His nonstop grin seemed to be fueled by the freight train’s pace at which they played. The set’s first half
was a carousel of music from his different bands. Sugar’s “A Good Idea” was followed by “Changes,” and then before you knew it, Hüsker Dü songs like “I Apologize” were pouring out as well.

But before Mould jumped into the material from his newest album, Silver Age, he finally took a quick break to crack jokes with the older crowd: “How many people got babysitters until 1 a.m.?” He then settled right back into focusing only on the microphone, his guitar and showing that his new music perfectly meshes with the old, with wild songs like “The Descent” and the whip-cracking solos he’d let rip during them all. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

(Bob Mould plays The Bowery Ballroom again tonight.)

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Bob Mould Plays The Bowery Ballroom Tonight and Tomorrow

February 26th, 2013

In the music world, if people know you’re name from even just one project, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing something right. And if audiences recognize you for two influential bands (one of them iconic) plus an acclaimed solo career, well, you just might be Bob Mould. Raised in rural Upstate New York, he headed to college in Minnesota, ultimately making a home in the Twin Cities and forming Hüsker Dü—Mould on guitar and vocals, Grant Hart on drums and vocals, and Greg Norton on bass—in the late ’70s. Initially a thrashing punk band, their sound grew more melody driven but not any quieter. And while they didn’t find the success of R.E.M., they became indie-rock pioneers, paving the way for groups like the Pixies, Superchunk and Nirvana. But alas, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t meant to last, and Hüsker Dü broke up while on tour in 1987.

So Mould went solo, releasing the excellent Workbook two years later. It was a big departure from his previous work, with much of the album acoustic with a strong folk bent. Another solo effort followed before he again formed a power trio—with David Barbe on bass and Malcolm Travis on drums—the more radio friendly Sugar. Their debut LP, Copper Blue, out in ’92, earned applause from critics and fans alike. But by 1995, Mould had ended the band and gone it alone again. He’s dutifully recorded more material and toured ever since. And his tenth solo album, the well-received Silver Age (stream it below), came out last year. Watch Bob Mould, above, performing “Keep Believing” on Conan and then go see him live at The Bowery Ballroom tonight and tomorrow, where he’ll play selections from Silver Age, Hüsker Dü, Sugar and his solo classics.