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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Do The Du


Slipping back to 1985 today after I came across this twenty five minute clip yesterday. Husker Du live at The Stone in San Francisco on March 1st. The film starts towards the end of the set with Diane, Hate Paper Doll and Divide And Conquer (both from then recent release Flip Your Wig) and into an encore of Eight Miles High and Makes No Sense At All. For the final song, a romp through Louie Louie, the Huskers are joined by members of all four support bands- SWA, Saccharine Trust, Minutemen and Meat Puppets. Seeing Husker Du, Minutemen and Meat Puppets on the same bill seems extraordinary now but was standard for the time.



What seems funny about this video now is that it was professionally filmed but is so shonky. The sound is pretty hit and miss, Bob Mould's guitar inaudible in places against Greg Norton's bass. Whether that's the sound at the gig or just what the cameras are picking up I don't know.

The group also show how different things were in 1985. Touring without much in the way of label support- SST had never had any money- they more or less just booked some dates, got in a van and off they went. Minutemen's creed famously was 'we jam econo', in other words they cut their costs as far as they could, packed and unpacked their own gear, slept in the van or on fans' floors, touring as cheaply as possible. Touring connected with them fans and promoted records (which could be bought if SST had got them into the record shops in the town they were playing). These bands have not been anywhere near a stylist or a focus group, there's no lightshow, no backdrop, no projections, no gap between band and audience- all the things that modern signed bands take for granted. Different times.

This is also a new discovery for me, an unreleased outtake from 1984's New Day Rising album. Corruscating independent punk from Reagan's America.

9 comments:

The Swede said...

Great footage. Husker Du at the Electric Ballroom is right up there among the loudest shows I've ever attended. Mind you, the Sugar gigs I caught weren't that far behind.

TheRobster said...

Saw Bob last year. He played Hate Paper Doll. And he's still very loud!

Swiss Adam said...

I missed Bob last year. Still kicking myself.

JTFL said...

Two gaping holes in my concert-going days are Minneapolis acts Husker Du and the Replacements. I did see Mould years after and a reformed 'Mats show not that long ago but I can't for the life of me figure out how I could have missed these awesome bands. Maybe I was broke. Anyway, good post about a tremendous show. Plus I get to add shonky to my vocabulary.

Ian Lawton said...

Nice. The Hüskers weren't exactly fastidious when it came to live sound engineering ... they generally sounded shit in my experience ... I remember a poorly attended gig at Liverpool uni students union which sounded like cutlery being scraped together at deafening volume with a hint of some bloke shouting. I'm bummed I never saw the replacements but there weren't many opportunities to catch them in their heyday ( they came over in 86 and 87 I think but don't think they played outside London - I stand to be corrected) ... I lost interest after 'let it be' - as did bass player Bob Stinson who refused to play their soft rock tunes ... they were notoriously drunk, chaotic and unreliable so we can reassure ourselves that they may well have been shit if we had seen them!

Ian Lawton said...

That outtake is great btw

Swiss Adam said...

Seeing the Replacements c1984-5 is an ideal that lives in my head. SST too skint/tight to send a soundman on tour with the bands?

The Huskers outtake is wonderful isn't it.

Ian Lawton said...

That was definitely part of it, punk bands on a budget with no sound guy, and partly attitude I think. Even tho I worshipped dinosaur jr their shows were a shambles too! Mascis pissing around for 5 minutes with foot pedals and tuning between songs whilst murph and lou improvised new tunes ... in my time machine I'm gonna head back and see the minutemen first, on home turf with a sound tech

Swiss Adam said...

I'll come to see Minutemen with you.