Friday, 6 July 2012

Bob Mould plays Sugar's "Copper Blue" live at London's Shepherds Bush Empire June 01st

The atmosphere inside the packed out Shepherds Bush Empire is electric as the crowd gears up to welcome a rare U.K. appearance from Bob Mould, together with his excellent band, Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy. The gig tonight is part of a special tour of performances to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Sugar's mighty "Copper Blue" album. It also coincides with the re-release of all of Sugar's albums as Deluxe Editions, which include B-Sides, extra tracks and additional DVDs of live performances and promo videos.

"Copper Blue" really works in this format, it was always a pretty faultless album, and to hear it played all the way through from start to finish is an absolute delight. The crunching chords of opener "The Act We Act" herald the start of a great gig and is closely followed by the headlong rush of "A Good Idea". The chiming guitars of the catchy "Changes" give way to one of the greatest guitar riffs ever written, that sublime intro to "Helpless". The emotionally charged "The Slim" is moving and powerful and then the mood is lightened by "If I Can't Change Your Mind", one of Bob's most uplifiting and cheerful melodies.

Following the whole of "Copper Blue" Bob plays a selection of brand new as, yet unreleased songs, which sound extremely promising. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the first of the new numbers, "Star Machine", is one of the night's overall highlights for me. Then we are treated to some Husker Du tracks,  admittedly not the well known classics I was rather hoping for, but we do get "I Apologize" and "Celebrated Summer" from New Day Rising and "Chartered Trips" from Zen Arcade. Next up to close the set, are two tracks from his days in Sugar, "Needle Hits E" and "Your Favourite Thing". The first encore is a fantastic cover version of Cheap Trick's "Downed" and procedings end with with a frantic Husker Du favourite "Makes No Sense At All". The house lights go up and Bob can clearly see, illuminated in front of him, the extent, not only of the audience's enjoyment of a thoroughly great gig, but the respect and admiration for a master songwriter.

Bob laps up the rapturous applause
All photographs copyright Steve Worrall / Retro Man Blog 2012


  1. Listen to a podcast review of Copper Blue by Sugar on Dig Me Out at, a weekly podcast dedicated to revisiting lost, forgotten, overlooked and under-appreciated rock of the 1990s.

  2. Had the pleasure of seeing Sugar when they first toured Copper Blue - brilliant album and a brilliant band. Still got Bob's set list from the night..