Fun Fun Fun Fest always likes to throw a couple of unexpected nostalgia pieces into the festival. Whether it's Hum, The Dead Milkmen or The Descendents, FFF is always reliable for fans of noisy guitar rock. This year, in addition to the coup of having X perform Los Angeles, FFF hosts Bob Mould for a rare performance of the classic 1992 Sugar album Copper Blue.
Copper Blue was something of a surprise success upon release: while Mould's previous act Hüsker Dü was wildly influential, it was never a commercial success. The group resided instead in Big Star and Uncle Tupelo territory: not many people bought their records, but everyone that did seemed to start a band.
Many writers point to Mould's work with Hüsker Dü as a major influence on both The Pixies
, something you can hear plainly on Mould's Copper Blue
track "A Good Idea," a Mould original that incorporates all The Pixies' sonic checkmarks, but sounds like Mould thought the whole thing up. The Nirvana influence was nearly as strong, with Krist Novoselic once calling
Nirvana's sound "...nothing new. Hüsker Dü did it before us."
After a decade-plus of obscurity, Copper Blue pulled Mould (however briefly) onto mainstream radio with the hits "Helpless" and "If I Can't Change Your Mind." Even if those are the only tunes you know, Friday's Fun Fun Fun set is well worth your time. Copper Blue is a wall-to-wall marvel of power pop with sharp lyrics, power chords and endless hooks — it hasn't aged a bit.
While Mould has been playing these Copper Blue shows sporadically for the better part of a year, he recently announced that (due to boredom and the desire to promote his new record) the FFF gig would be the last complete performance of the classic album.
If the show inspires you to explore more of the man's catalog, Mould's new Merge album Silver Age
is actually a nice place to go next. A companion of sorts to Copper Blue
, it finds Mould revisiting Sugar's loud guitars and dark lyrics, but it sounds pretty damned great on your (satellite) radio. For a taste of that album, watch video "The Descent."
If you're feeling more nostalgic, Mould's 1994 compilation Poison Years
is available on Spotify, which features the instantly recognizable gem "See A Little Light."
And as any music nerd will tell you, those Hüsker Dü records aren't so bad, either.