Dinosaur Jr.: Live Last Night
By Patrick Foster
At a Dinosaur Jr. show, there's only one thing to shout that's more obvious than "Free Bird": "Turn it up!" Not that guitarist J. Mascis could hear that wisecrack at the 9:30 Club last night, since he was standing in front of approximately 37 Marshall stacks and behind a guitar-pedal board the size of New Hampshire.
But the capacity crowd who watched the original Dinosaur boys (Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph) wade through 90 impressive minutes most likely showed up hoping to be made a little more deaf. And 25 years (and numerous personnel changes) on, the muscular, chunk-rock Mascis originally deemed "ear-bleeding country" not only delivered, but sounded like a remarkably ageless concept.
(Old and new mesh perfectly, after the jump.)
Biased toward their uneven but enjoyable new album "Farm," the set looked (save for some hair/stomach, um, differences) and sounded much like the Massachusetts power trio did in 1989: the phlegmatic Mascis, ripping out massive guitar riffs and croaking achingly pretty vocal lines; the bratty Barlow hopping about and whacking sympathetic bass chords; the hard-working Murph spitting out a dictionary of classic-rock fills.
The show was judiciously sprinkled with Dino-gems, from the crunchy "Budge" to "The Wagon" to a magnificent rendition of "Little Fury Things" and a surprising encore of one of their earliest (and creakiest) tunes, "Repulsion."
The evening's peak actually came during the one-two of "Feel the Pain" and the new "Over It." Amid a spasm of wah-wah pedal and drum fills, two of the trio's strongest songs rose and fell, balancing loud/soft and indelible melodies like top-shelf classic rock. And if the ear-ringing consistency of last night's set proved anything, it's that anyone who cares about the sanctity of ridiculously loud rock music should always keep a little Dinosaur Jr. alongside. Here's hoping they continue to live loud and prosper.
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