Bob Mould’s latest album, Blue Hearts, kicks off with a song called “Heart on Sleeve,” which opens with this pointed lyrical observation: “The Left Coast is covered in ash and flames/Keep denying the winds of climate change/The Deep South sinking into the sea/But you don’t believe me.”
Mould, of course, has never been known for his subtlety. The 60-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist has been raging about what moves him for four decades now — first with the iconic 1980s Indie Rock trio Hüsker Dü and then, minus a brief two-record run in the early 1990s with Sugar, as a solo artist who has released a string of consistently stellar albums.
But something is a little different this time: Blue Hearts seems especially urgent and confrontational, the product of a man who had to cancel a tour and put his life and livelihood on hold last spring due to a pandemic. As a gay man who lived through the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, Mould sees parallels between former presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump and their enablers.
“We have a charismatic, telegenic, say-anything leader being propped up by evangelicals,” Mould said when Blue Hearts was released last fall. “These fuckers tried to kill me once. They didn’t do it. They scared me. I didn’t do enough. Guess what? I’m back, and we’re back here again. And I’m not going to sit quietly this time and worry about alienating anyone.”
Cue “American Crisis,” a no-holds-barred take on our current state backed by music as blistering as anything from Hüsker Dü’s Hardcore days. Mould’s voice cracks with emotion as he sings, “I never thought I’d see this bullshit again/To come of age in the ’80s was bad enough/We were marginalized and demonized/I watched a lot of my generation die/Welcome back to American crisis.”
This tour is being billed as Mould in “solo electric” mode, which means audiences will experience his voice and guitar, intimate and unfiltered.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at Memorial Hall. The venue requires masks as well as proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
Get tickets and more show details at memorialhallotr.com.
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