So, here is a quick definition for you:
the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
"music is a means of catharsis for them"
This is, to me, what Bob Mould’s music is and always has been about, from Husker Du to Sunshine Rock (see our review at tinyurl.com/zubsunshinebob) and everything in between. But to see Bob Mould live is a total cathartic experience. His songs are full of anger, hate, lust, pain, regret, confusion, hope, loss, redemption, and ultimately, love. I have seen Husker Du twice (Our Huskers Podcast tinyurl.com/zubmileshi) and Bob three times solo, and it’s been an amazing experience every time. From the start to the end, old late 1980’s Strat in hand (the silver one tonight, or is it gunmetal?), Fender Twin turned up loud and plenty of screaming distortion via pedals, Bob puts his whole being into putting the songs across.
I get what you might describe as a spiritual charge from a good rock show or a great songwriter. The concerts are my place of communion, and they give me life. Extending this analogy, I’d have to say that Bob Mould is a great vessel for the rock and roll spirit. He’s reigns high in its temple, an apostle or prophet through whom that musical spirit moves.
Did I mention Bob Mould played a show at the Grey Eagle? Playing alone, he marched out and launched into ‘The War’ from Beauty And Ruin, immediately followed by Husker Du’s ‘Flip Your Wig’ and ‘I Apologize.’ Living in Berlin has been good for Bob, he was trim and looked great, ran all over the stage just like Husker Du days, and played intricate and cutting guitar throughout. His voice is not classically perfect, but by sheer will he puts his terrific songs forward. Did I mention how much he was smiling? He seemed to be having a really great time. Sugar’s beautiful ‘Hoover Dam’ followed, Workbook’s ‘See A Little Light’ was a touching moment. He did ‘Sunshine Rock’ from the new album. Bob talked with the crowd, was totally in command of the stage, and seemed to be at peace now with his Husker Du past, which he has not always embraced. He wrapped up the set with a spectacular, heart-wrenching version of ‘Sinners And Their Repentences’ (from Workbook). This was followed by a Husker’s heavy encore of Zen Arcade’s “Something I Learned Today,’ ‘Chartered Trips,’ and a sing-along of ‘Makes No Sense At All.’
This was a special trip to the rock and roll alter. Husker Du and Bob Mould and the late Grant Hart, exceptional and sensitive songwriters who are not afraid of noise or feelings, loom large for me. They taught me how to play and what equipment to use. They showed me that so-called ‘Punk’ music can be cathartic, can have real emotional depth, and Bob Mould is still the high priest as far as I’m concerned.