Bob Mould sits on a stool, trying to collect himself after delivering “Again and Again,” the wrenching tale of his on-again, off-again longtime relationship.
“Sometimes,” he tells the crowd at the 92Y Tribeca, “it's not just a song.”
Mould, the alternative rock hero known for his solo work and for founding Husker Du and Sugar, was promoting his new memoir “See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody” (Little, Brown). But mostly, Mould's appearance Thursday night was a continuation of the book's theme: It gets better.
Having survived sexual abuse as a child, growing up in an abusive household in upstate Malone, alcoholism and time as a “self-hating homosexual,” Mould says he's developed a happy life at the age of 50, with success in his personal and public lives. His music and the dance party “Blowoff” – which he DJs with Richard Morel and says “saved his life” – have brought him as much success now as he saw in his days as an alt-rock icon.
All of those revelations made Mould's classics, which he performed alone on electric guitar, that much more poignant. The talk of his personal life made his hopeful songs, especially “See a Little Light” and “Silver Lining,” seem more potent and helped explain why the sound of hope made its way into songs with darker subject matter, like “If I Can't Change Your Mind.”
His determined delivery of the '70s-pop-influenced “I'm Sorry Baby, But You Can't Stand in My Light Anymore” made it clear that he's willing to fight for his happiness now. The light he has long written about is now streaming in.
SETLIST: See a Little Light / Wishing Well / Silver Lining / Lonely Afternoon / The Act We Act / Changes / Hoover Dam / If I Can't Change Your Mind / Circles / Again and Again / Life and Times / The Breach / I'm Sorry Baby, But You Can't Stand in My Light Anymore
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