Bob Mould came alone, except for his 1987 Lake Placid Blue Fender Stratocaster. We provided the Epiphone Blues Custom 30 amp, which he promptly cranked. Needless to say, he announced his own Tiny Desk Concert without using the paging system.
Mould isn’t a shy man — his power chords will tell you that — but he’s humble and gentle. Many know Mould from his days with Hüsker Dü, an awesome punkish band from Minnesota that laid the groundwork for the Pixies and more. His subsequent work with Sugar managed to do something none of his other records did so well: Copper Blue sold hundreds of thousands of copies.
Beauty and Ruin is solo album No. 11 for Mould, and as you can hear from these songs, he’s all amped up and ready to go. Sweaty and happy, he makes “Makes No Sense At All” his final calling card — classic Hüsker Dü.
Anthrax - “A Skeleton in the Closet” (Chile on Hell DVD, 2014)
Great song, great sound, and former Shadows Fall guitarist Jonathan Donais does an admirable job at mimicking Danny Spitz’s solo, but he definitely needs to loosen up and move a little more. And I very nearly had a seizure from all the fast-cut split-screen nonsense.
Nickel Creek was made to sing and play around a single microphone, so a Tiny Desk Concert seemed inevitable. All it took was a reunion tour — celebrating 25 years of Nickel Creek — to make it happen.
All three of the band’s remarkably talented core members have been to the Tiny Desk before. Chris Thile is a veteran, having played the Tiny Desk with friend and guitarist Michael Daves, then later in the same year with Yo-Yo Ma and others in a project known as Goat Rodeo. When The Decemberists performed a Tiny Desk Concert, Sara Watkins was there to play her fiddle and sing. Her brother, Sean Watkins, was also at the NPR offices earlier this year with the marvelous singer Tom Brosseau.
The trio, backed here by bassist Mark Schatz, has no equal. Nickel Creek has been doing this on and off since its members were kids, and what blows me away is the comfort and ease with which they navigate their instruments. That skill, and the creative force behind it, is a joy and a thrill to witness.