If I were to share with you my top 10 albums of the 1990s and even my top 10 albums of all time, "Copper Blue" by Sugar would be towards the top of both lists. I remember the first song I heard off the album, "Hoover Dam," on a mix tape a friend had made me. The song sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. The entire album quickly became a soundtrack for me and my group of friends through high school in the early 1990s. I was too young to understand Sugar's front man Bob Mould and his connections to underground music via Husker Du in the 1980s, much less Mould's stature and importance as one of the greatest musicians/songwriters of my generation. Further, I was too young to comprehend the influences to Sugar, such as My Bloody Valentine (a comprehension that would come years later as I got more mature with my listening skills). All I know was that "Copper Blue" was 10 songs of focused energy, emotion and gracefulness. They were 10 songs that would leave their mark on me forever.
I never got to see Sugar perform live, and I always had them on this list in my head of great bands I'd never see (along with The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, Minor Threat and many others. It's interesting to see the bands fall off that list as reunions and one-time gigs occur and who I will still never see, but that's a discussion for another time). When I saw Bob Mould perform with his backing band at ATP 2008, I was blown away that he played "Hoover Dam." I wasn't expecting it and yet here it was, live and being performed in front of me. So when the music festival in San Francisco, Noise Pop announced that Mould would be performing the entire "Copper Blue" album live, I had to be there.
After much drama, conflicts and touch and go moments, I found myself with some of my closest friends at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, California on February 24, 2012, waiting for Mould and his band, bassist Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster (of Superchunk fame) to take the stage. When the first note started, I had to look around and verify that this was actually happening.
To prove it happened, I took some video of the first 5 songs. I had intended to do the entire show, but after "Hoover Dam", I had to put my camera down and just rock out. I wanted to share this video with you so you can see the happiness and energy that Bob Mould shared with all of us. Seeing this amazing group of songs performed live helped push Mould to the top of my list of "Best Live Shows I've Ever Seen."
If you don't have "Copper Blue" - go buy it now and enjoy the videos below.