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Glass Onion, 20 Nov 1992

The Glass Onion is the University of Washington's weekly music and arts newspaper. The review below of the 17 Nov 1992 Sugar show (Copper Blue tour) at the Moore Theater in Seattle was written by Jim Brunner. Photo by Chris Sievanen.


Sugar, Throwing Muses and Boo Radleys
Moore Theater, Tuesday, Nov. 17


     Earplugs were in vogue at the Moore Theater Tuesday night, and even the poor slobs who didn't have the real thing resorted to tissue paper, regular paper, fingers or even cigarette butts to take some of the edge off Sugar's sonic assault.
     The man behind the noise was ex-Husker Du front man Bob Mould, for whom Sugar is just another loud chapter in a tale full of angst-driven noise. After the Husker's messy break-up due to personal strife between Mould and Grant Hart (the band's songwriting, heroin-shootin' vocalist/drummer), Mould spent about a year out of the music scene, returning with a more carefully crafted sound in his solo debut Workbook. Last year, Mould followed up with he darker, louder Black Sheets of Rain.
     During his "solo" phase, Mould avoided the temptation of playing old Husker Du songs, concentrating instead on new material.
     Tuesday night, Sugar did not play Husker Du songs or Mould's solo work. They played Sugar songs, from the band's recent release Copper Blue, as well as some new material (with the exception of a cover of Mission of Burma's "That's When I Reach for My Revolver").
     The lack of Mould's older material was fine for the most part, since the band's performance was energetic, and he seemed happier than he was during his solo tour. The beginning and end of the show were riveting, but the set bogged down in the middle — even eliciting a few yawns from the most die-hard Mould fans. Part of the problem was that bassist David Barbe sang throaty lead vocals on some songs apparently slated for Sugar's next album. His voice and songwriting were exceptionally wimpy in contrast with Mould.
     Before Sugar, Boston's Throwing Muses played an impressive set despite a pared-down lineup and recurring equipment problems. The Bnad was on tour promoting their latest effort, Red Heaven.
     Kristen Hersh mesmerized the crowd with her sometimes ethereal, sometimes yowling vocal style backed up by a piercing guitar sound and galloping rhythms.
—Jim Brunner

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