SXSW Live Shot: Bob Mould

‘Beauty and Ruin’ from Hüsker Dü’s grinning jackhammer

The Workbook days, apparently, are over. Though Bob Mould set out on tour to support the reissue of his first solo album, his Thursday night SXSW set revealed an artist tired of looking back and ready to move forward – as loudly as possible.

Cellist Alison Chesley is gone, leaving the essential power trio of Mould, bassist Jason Narducy, and drummer Jon Wurster ready to rock and roar in the crowded, sweltering Parish. Perhaps the Workbook shows were too low-key, because the triple punch opening of “Star Machine,” “The Descent,” and “Keep Believing,” all from 2012’s superior amp-frier Silver Age, was an explosion of energy and, from the smile on Mould’s face, joy.

Photo by Sandy Carson

Palate thus cleansed, Mould treated the room to nine tracks from his upcoming June release, Beauty and Ruin. From major-key power poppers to a slow and heavy accusation in the Black Sheets of Rain mode and some jackhammer punk tunes that recall mid-period Hüsker Dü, Mould and band sounded confident and prepared. While nothing ventured outside of his wheelhouse, like John Fogerty, Mould does himself better than anybody.

Sprinkling in a few of his usual classics placated the nostalgia-mongers, but the crowd seemed happy to bop to the new tunes. A fine set, marred only by an apparently crazed lighting operator determined to blind the audience.

“Thanks for letting us work out the new tunes,” Mould told the crowd.

Anytime, Bob.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

More Bob Mould
Sound on Sound Review: Bob Mould
Sound on Sound Review: Bob Mould
Hüsker Dü/Sugar frontman revives might + melody

Michael Toland, Nov. 7, 2016

More by Michael Toland
No Idea Festival Q&A
No Idea Festival Q&A
Improvisational guru Chris Cogburn explains the matrix

Feb. 16, 2017

Evil Triplet Record Review
Evil Triplet Record Review
Otherworld (Super Secret)

Feb. 10, 2017


Bob Mould, SXSW Music 2014, Hüsker Dü, Jason Narducy, Jon Wurster, John Fogerty

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)