As the Globe slowly fills with an army of die-hard Bob Mould fans for tonight’s rescheduled show, charismatic opener Katie Malco provides a masterclass in winning over a new audience. Her set is bright, engaging and, despite its brevity, packed with superbly well-written songs. Admittedly Kate Bush wrote one of them, but Malco’s take on Cloudbusting bears up and the cover fits in neatly amongst future classics like Animal, a standout from 2020’s debut LP Failures. A huge talent, even with a voice worn down from a month of touring, Katie Malco should be back headlining venues this size in the near future.
Bob Mould’s set, in contrast with the levity of Malco’s, feels intense. Performing solo, glasses fogged up to the point of being useless, the former frontman of Hüsker Dü and Sugar hurls song after song at the crowd in clusters of lacerating treble and gruffly melodic bellows. The volume is remarkable. All the while, the heat in the Globe reaches frankly absurd levels; it’s like attending a gig inside the Earth’s core.
Mould, who charges his way through the set as though he’s in a hurry to hit his quota of razor-edged punk anthems, sweats so much that he looks like he’ll need to be hooked up to a drip to recover in time for the next show. His energy is ceaseless. Equally impressive is the connection with his fans, many of have undoubtedly been following him since Hüsker Dü first broke through. They are treated to a handful of that band’s classics – Flip Your Wig, Hate Paper Doll, Celebrated Summer – in a set that spans the range of Mould’s career. Sugar songs are thrown into the mix, along with a generous selection of solo numbers.
Pulling highlights from the set is a challenge given the nature of the delivery, with a relentless battery of well-worn numbers hammered home at breakneck pace. For all that, it’s the glorious melodies of Sugar’s Hoover Dam and the inevitable If I Can’t Change Your Mind that are still bouncing around the brain the next morning.
The Globe, Cardiff, Tue 28 June
words and photos HUGH RUSSELL
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