Fitting the Mould [with video]

Fitting the Mould [with video]

Bob Mould is something of a Renaissance man. He began his musical career with ’80s post-punkers Hüsker Dü, formed alternative/college radio favorite Sugar in the early ’90s, worked on scripts for World Championship Wrestling in the late ’90s and ’00s and has filled any gaps with a diverse selection of solo material.

Veteran sounds: Rock legend and dance DJ Bob Mould will screen his new concert DVD, Circle of Friends, this Thursday at Gravity Lounge. publicity photo

He eventually found himself in New York City and into electronica, which resulted in 2002’s Modulate, and from there he headed to D.C. and began collaborating as a live DJ with Richard Morel for "Blowoff," a monthly dance night. But, still hanging onto the rock side of things, Mould went into the legendary Inner Ear Studios with Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty (who Feedback interviewed in last week’s column) to record 2005’s guitar-heavy Body of Song, which led to a full-band tour with Canty and Morel and a concert DVD from that tour called Circle of Friends. Mould will come to Gravity Lounge this Thursday, November 8 to play an acoustic set and screen the new DVD.

"It’s something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time," Mould says of Circle of Friends. "In 2005 with Body of Song and the excitement around that, and the most excellent band that I put together, I thought it would be a good idea to capture some shows. Since I was revisiting my old catalog for the first time with an electric band, it just sort of made sense."

The DVD was filmed at a 2005 show at D.C.’s 9:30 Club and, in addition to Mould’s solo material, includes Hüsker Dü numbers like "Chartered Trips" and "Could You Be The One?" and Sugar tunes like "Helpless" and "If I Can’t Change Your Mind."

A video clip of "If I Can’t Change Your Mind" from Circle of Friends.

Though it had been a while since Mould had played older songs with a band, it worked out well. "I guess with the Hüsker and Sugar stuff I thought it was best left where it was," he says. "But with these guys we were just sort of having fun. It felt natural, and any weirdness quickly dissipated."

At Gravity you’ll get to witness the energy of the 9:30 gig, as well as one of Mould’s wide-open acoustic performances. "When I do solo acoustic touring my entire songbook from beginning to end is always on deck," he says. So, whether you dig Hüsker Dü, have a taste for Sugar or love Mould’s other diverse dabblings, you’ll get a nice treat on Thursday night.

Many voices

Last week Feedback made our way over to Old Cabell Hall to catch a rehearsal by the University Singers. The group was practicing for its upcoming collaboration with the UVA Chamber Singers, the Virginia Consort Youth Chorale and the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, November 10 and Sunday, November 11. The four ensembles will convene at Old Cabell Hall for an awe-inspiring rendition of Carl Orff‘s 1937 masterpiece, Carmina Burana.

Full stage: This weekend the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra and the University Singers (both pictured above) will join two more vocal ensembles for a monumental performance of Carmina Burana.

As we looked on, director Michael Slon helped the Singers hone their intonation, balance their dynamics and put other finishing touches on the difficult cantata. They looked excited to be nearing this weekend’s performance, and Slon energetically lead them through different parts of the 13 movements.

The University Singers rehearsing for their performance of Carmina Burana.

Curious about what we had just witnessed, Feedback caught up with Slon after the rehearsal via e-mail. Collaborations between the Singers and the Orchestra date back to at least 1983, he says, and every year the two put on joint holiday concerts (this year’s are on December 1 and 2).

Logistics are difficult when bringing four groups together, Slon notes, but the final goal is worth it. "That is ultimately the thrill of it—bringing many people together to go somewhere none of us could go on our own," he says. And this might be the largest performance that Old Cabell Hall has ever seen. "It still remains to be seen whether we’ll all fit," Slon says.

And the number of performers isn’t the only thing that’s big about the piece. "When he completed this piece, Carl Orff told his publisher to forget about everything he had written previously—this was his new opus 1," Slon tells us. And it’s renowned indeed. Even if you’re not familiar with choral music, you’ll probably recognize the opening and closing movement, "O fortuna," which has found its way into many commercials and films. Slon says that his favorite moment of Carmina might be the "extraordinary soprano solo ‘In trutina’ late in the piece, when she hangs up in the air for an extra moment, floating a D as the harmony changes beautifully beneath her."

That sounds heavenly, and we recommend catching one of this weekend’s concerts, which are themed "Love & Fate." In addition to Carmina, the Orchestra will perform Gabriel Fauré‘s Pavane and Maurice Ravel‘s Daphnis and Chloé.

C-VILLE Playlist
What we’re listening to

"Rhythm & Soul," by Spoon (from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga) – Frontman Britt Daniels has a voice that sounds like a gravel depository and staggers his lyrics like he’s reading them in translation.

"This Time Tomorrow," by The Kinks (from Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One) – The song starts off with a jet engine (literally), climbs to an indescribable, ecstatic guitar strum and then glides to an enlightened, satisfying landing.

" Catacomb Kids," by Aesop Rock (from None Shall Pass)

"Rock you like a Hurricane’" by Scorpions (from Love At First Sting)

"Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield (from Superfly soundtrack)

"Pacifics," by Digable Planets (from Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space))

"Goin’ to Acapulco," by Jim James and Calexico (from I’m Not There soundtrack)

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