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Saturday 1 April 2023

Saturday Live

Husker Du, live in 1985 at the Camden Palace. Fifty- seven minutes of melody, feedback and speed, verse/ chorus songs shredded and sandblasted with utter conviction. They blast their way on stage with New Day Rising, Grant's drums double fast, triple fast even, Greg Norton bouncing round the stage, his basslines so much more present than they sometimes were on the recordings and Bob Mould playing guitar and singing those three words like there is nothing else on earth that matters more at that moment. They then career intensely through their back catalogue of recent records, the Flip Your Wig and New Day Rising albums and the Metal Circus EP. Grant's It's Not Funny Anymore is followed with barely a pause by early song Everything Falls Apart and then The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill, Grant's song about a friend dying of cancer and alcoholism, trailed by Bob draining his amp of feedback. It's breathtaking stuff, song after song, walls of sheet metal noise, fast tempos and Grant throwing in drum parts that are almost jazz- hardcore punk jazz- but jazz all the same. 

Part of Husker Du's magnificence lies in their presentation, their punk taken to a fast, loud, noisy melodic extreme versus their demeanour. Bob, tall, short hair, t- shirt and jeans, eyes closed. Grant, long hair, a barefoot singing drummer. Greg, lanky, bouffant hair and handle bar moustache. They look unpunk, non- punk. To underline their rejection of the Stalinist approach to punk with which they had no truck, they play Ticket To Ride towards the end, the Beatles transformed into bright white noise but with those melodies at the heart of it. Two minutes later they're into Recurring Dreams, an epic by Husker Du standards, six minutes of wordless psychedelic punk rock, guitar strings bending and stretching. They soar into their cover of Eight Miles High, so high now they've cleared the ozone layer and entered escape velocity. Bob, still with a thousand yard stare to the back of the Palace, launches the three of them into Love Is All Around, the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Most of the audience look stunned, blown away. Credits roll. 


Anonymous said...

Was about to hit the sack but am now bouncing off the walls. This is incredible. - Brian

Swiss Adam said...

It is isn't it. I still have this on VHS, unable to play it but also unwilling to throw it away.