Reviews of music shows I've been to. Maybe you've been there too…

Grant Hart @ Black Cat (1/13/11)

The lights didn’t go down, the crowd didn’t start cheering.  In fact, for a few moments, no one really seemed to notice that some dude with long hair had started playing up on stage.  Finally everyone realized that Grant Hart had started his set, sans introduction or fanfare.  His nondescript entrance pretty much summed up the night.  Hart started off by himself, turning down the volume (and the tempo) of some of his best-known Hüsker Dü songs, including “Sorry Somehow,” “Never Talking to You Again” and “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill.”  Surprisingly, this approach worked well, adding a level of sincerity that was hidden on the originals behind Bob Mould’s wall of guitars.  But the evening never climbed above bar-band status, as Hart repeatedly indulged in incoherent ramblings between songs: asking for requests and then rejecting them as too hard or unlikeable, rambling about Charles Lindbergh, getting his guitar damaged by TSA.  Most of his stories just stopped mid-sentence before he realized that he should kick in to the next song.  Charming at first, but the act started to wear thin about halfway through, when Hart changed things up and invited the opening band onstage to accompany him.  Unfortunately, they barely knew any of his songs, and spent most of the set just trying to keep pace.  Of course, Hart didn’t help by forgetting lyrics and re-starting mid-song.  Even worse, the band’s lackluster playing only served as a reminder of how musically competent Hüsker Dü actually was: no one should ever try to emulate Bob Mould on guitar.  The band was so bland that it was minutes before I even realized that they were playing two of my favorite Hüsker Dü songs: “Pink Turns to Blue” and “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely.”  Only “Terms of Psychic Warfare” rose to its expected level of greatness (after a false start of course).  After rejecting my call for “Free Bird,” Hart slank off stage before returning for a brief solo encore.  The night ended with him mingling amongst the crowd, rambling on another random story about his past in Minnesota.  Everything falls apart indeed.

Set List:

  1. So Far From Heaven
  2. The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
  3. Sorry Somehow
  4. 2541
  5. Never Talking To You Again
  6. I Knew All About You Since Then
  7. California Zephyr
  8. Puzzles
  9. Flexible Flyer
  10. She Floated Away
  11. Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely
  12. Terms Of Psychic Warfare
  13. Pink Turns To Blue
  14. Come, Come


  1. Admiral Of The Sea
  2. Evergreen Memorial Drive
  3. Awake, Arise

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