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  • #48613
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    tom_in_chicago
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    minor quibble: Lou’s bass is in no way, shape or form "rubbery" or "sinewy". Atom smashing or pulverizing is more like it.

    Dinosaur Jr. proves a blast from the past

    By Jonathan Perry, Globe Correspondent | December 7, 2005

    CAMBRIDGE — ”This show tonight will produce sound levels at very high decibels."

    Maybe it was meant as fair warning or a deterrent, but to the near-capacity crowd that packed the downstairs room at the Middle East Monday night to hear Dinosaur Jr. slash and burn through its back catalog, the sign posted outside the entrance read like a giddy promise.

    Since reuniting earlier this year after more than a decade of animosity and silence between two of its principal members, guitarist J Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow, Dinosaur Jr. has torn a page from the Pixies playbook, performing for sold-out audiences that might have missed the band the first time around, and revisiting a legacy that helped lay the foundation for the punk-metal sprawl called grunge.

    During the second of two shows here, both of which were filmed and recorded for a planned live DVD (also a la the Pixies), the original trio with Murph on drums sounded as if there had been no layoff whatsoever, or bad blood between them. The only hint of their absence came in the palpable sense that with every blitzkrieg guitar solo, rubbery bass run, or pummeling of drums, the band was making up for lost time. With a wall of Marshall amplifiers stacked high and at his disposal, Mascis, a reluctant and famously nonverbal guitar hero of the first order, found fresh, screaming avenues to explore within material culled solely from the original lineup’s first three albums. He even seemed to surprise himself, and certainly the audience, many of whom had already left when, after the 90-minute show, the band returned to the stage for an unplanned second encore (”In a Jar").

    Anchored by Barlow’s sinewy bass runs and Murph’s dependable assault, Mascis didn’t just revisit ”Gargoyle," ”Kracked," and ”Bulbs of Passion," the string of old faves that kicked the concert into gear. He pilloried them with precision, wrenching them from the boxy confines of melody and blasting them outward toward freedom.

    Mascis’s wild and woolly guitar playing stood — as it always has — in stark contrast to his sleepily laconic vocal style, which felt more like a verbal shrug of the shoulders than actual singing. Barlow took over lead vocal chores for a few songs, but was quickly drowned out by the tornado roaring through the room. No one, not even Barlow, seemed to mind.

    #113390
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    AGAP
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    another review of the Boston show, don’t agree with a couple bits in the article, especially that whole narcissistic songwriting deal… ::)

    Dinosaur Jr. Roam Once More

    thecrimson.com

    Published On Thursday, December 08, 2005Â 9:54 PM

    By EVAN L. HANLON


    In recent years, many underground rock legends have reunited for a shot at their former glory. Boston post-punk progenitors Mission of Burma are working on their second new album after a hiatus since the mid-’80s. Post-hardcore acts from Slint to Braid have reappeared for tours, only to fade back into legend. Even the Pixies are rumored to be in the studio again. These moves invariably beg the question of motive: music, money, or something entirely different?

    For Dinosaur Jr., the issue is much more complicated; few bands have as tumultuous a history. The band was founded in 1983 in Amherst, MA. J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Emmett Patrick Murphy (“Murph�) came together as Dinosaur, adopting junior status later due to copyright issues. J and Lou, who had recently broken up their hardcore band Deep Wound, picked up Murph as a drummer, allowing J to emerge from behind the drum kit and to take up lead guitar and vocals.

    J’s professed love for Neil Young and accomplished songwriting almost single-handedly revived the guitar solo in punk rock, one of the reasons for Dinosaur Jr.’s enduring legacy. The trio released three seminal albums in the ’80’s, “Dinosaur,� “You’re Living All Over Me,� and “Bug.�

    Unfortunately, the honeymoon ended quickly. J Mascis was a sarcastic wit, often criticizing the goofy Barlow. Tensions over J’s draconian rule of songwriting, led Lou and J to stop speaking. Lou started the group Sebadoh, and was only informed of his removal from Dino Jr. by a friend, after which he promptly barged into J’s kitchen, screamed his head off at Murph and J, and left.

    The band soon became little more than a front for J’s narcissistic songwriting. Lou continued with Sebadoh, and the two ex-bandmates seemed to have closed the book on their relationship.

    Last year, Dinosaur Jr. vexingly announced that they would reunite for a nationwide tour. Rumor had it, though, before Monday’s show at the Middle East, that J and Lou were fighting again; perhaps this would be their last hurrah.

    EARPLUGS NEEDED

    A worrisome warning sign had been taped up at the Middle East: “The show tonight will produce sounds of extremely loud volume. Earplugs are available at the coat check. Sincerely, Dinosaur Jr.� As sooner as I finished reading, the sidewalk began to shake from the sound check. I knew Dinosaur Jr. shows are supposed to be loud; “wall of sound� is often thrown around by reviewers. Grizzled Dinosaur fanatics stood by the wall in faded black sweatshirts, seemingly having not showered since Lou got the boot.

    When I got downstairs, disappointment swept over me. Dinosaur’s merch table was piled high with $20 albums and shirts of a band only recently excavated. They even had albums by Sebadoh and J Mascis and the Fog, as if the show’s whole point was to further the careers of the two bandmates.

    The crowd poured in heavily, including some sadistic parent armed with an infant strolling up the backstage ramp. The baby made its presence known later, as looped crying began to thunder out of the amp wall. Opener Sunburned Hand of the Man was taking the stage.

    As the baby cried on and on, the Boston natives trickled out, until all nine members had donned instruments, electronics boards, microphones, and drum sticks. It was a motley crew of pseudo-lumberjacks while the keyboardist donned an Animal Collective-like mask. The sole female presence, dressed to impress in a business suit, clutched a cocktail during the entire set, serving the same performance role as the Butthole Surfers’ legendary nude dancer.

    The band’s chaotic sound may have been a far cry from Barlow and Mascis’ output, but, according to band member John Moloney, the two groups have “been at the same parties and shows for years.�

    Perhaps emblematic of the new generation of underground rock, Moloney admits that “the first time I got a grip on their sound was last night at the show,� although he was a Sebadoh fan as a college radio DJ.

    The band’s set was paradoxically both reminiscent of their recordings and like nothing they’ve ever played. There were no songs, just 40 minutes of improv: a Pennsylvania Dutch kraut jam session. Moloney especially admires German rockers Can, as their “records are improvised, played on the spot…and that’s our approach too.�

    The hypnotic bass led the drums like dogs in heat, but most of the band played whatever instruments they could find. Homemade electronics, two saxophones, three guitars, two basses, a KAOSS Pad effects processor, and sundry pedals lay scattered on the stage. The one guiding force was a five-foot branch, alternating between walking stick, club, and flagstaff for a silver scarf, entertaining the whole venue.

    Sunburned took a break to announce “We’re the J. Geils Band, but there ain’t no centerfold fucking up here,� before heading back into their passionate self-indulgence. They were a modern-day Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, playing with delay pedals, riffing and rapping their sound into a violent moaning crescendo. Chief Hand convulsed in spasmodic ecstasy on the floor beneath the silver scarf of his tribal flag. “Now the secret’s out…no more secrets,� he whispered, as they handed out new albums to a sated crowd.

    Finally, after level-checking better suited to the night’s U2 show, the lights went out. In rolled Dinosaur Jr., looking just like their liner note photos. J’s hair had turned gray and he had a few more chins, but Lou looked the same. Murph had shaved his head to mask his baldness, but the the middle-aged rockers wasted no time showing that time had not dulled their edges.

    Dinosaur Jr.’s sonic assault is total war; bunker-buster riffs penetrated earplugs with sheer volume. The band kicked things off with “Gargoyle,� from their eponymous debut album. J’s guitar and hair swept over the floor as he rocked back and forth, dispelling concerns of old age. Both young and old sang along to the grimy, Neil Young-cum-Sonic Youth songs that ended in skilled, if somewhat lengthy instrumental jams. “Kracked� was up next, from “You’re Living All Over Me;� the band pleased the crowd with material from the first three albums, besides one Superchunk cover and “Wagon� off of “Green Mind.�

    Things kicked into high gear with Lou’s lead vocals on “Bulbs of Passion,� showing just how tragic his feud with J was. Lou’s buzzsaw attack was more distorted than any Lightning Bolt bass line. Barely 10 minutes in, an amp had already blown, and while J donned his usual icy glare, Lou chatted it up with the crowd, rambling on about how much they had played Boston.

    The amp fixed, J went screaming and soloing into “Little Fury Things� for the first bonafide sing-along, before the chorus collapsed into “Forget the Swan.� Half-way through, the band showed no signs of flagging. Emboldened by Dinosaur’s tight performance, the crowd showered J and Lou with separate praise and song requests.

    The crowd received a brutal version of “Budge.� As J laconically whined “We can crush at high speeds� and Murph wailed away at the drums, violent headbanging storm fronts spiraled around the first mosh pit of the night, under Lou’s watchful eyes.

    Dinosaur Jr. ended the show with the strongest, heaviest material they had, tearing through several “You’re Living All Over Me� tracks. The guitar and bass tag teamed the crowd through the volatile tempo changes of “Lung,� then piled on the doomster ur-grunge of “Sludgefeast,� before exiting stage left for the requisite encore. When the band swaggered back in, no-one complained.

    They chugged straight into “Freak Scene.� Veterans danced along as young headbangers discovered Nirvana’s extensive debt to Dinosaur Jr. The pit gave two thumbs up as the band raced into final number “Mountain Man,� only stopping as the house lights went up. As I headed out to ice my ear drums, the crowd remained, trying to coax out just a little more of that preciously crude fossil fuel.

    #113391
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    tom_in_chicago
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    where’s this "fighting again" stuff coming from ?

    And a Superchunk cover ??? ::) he confuses The Cure w/ Superchunk ??

    Quote:
    When I got downstairs, disappointment swept over me. Dinosaur’s merch table was piled high with $20 albums and shirts of a band only recently excavated. They even had albums by Sebadoh and J Mascis and the Fog, as if the show’s whole point was to further the careers of the two bandmates.

    And what else would the point be, numbnuts ? Idiot college writer trying too hard to be pithy.

    #113392
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    King Tubby
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    "tom_in_chicago " wrote:
    where’s this "fighting again" stuff coming from ?

    And a Superchunk cover ??? ::) he confuses The Cure w/ Superchunk ??

    Quote:
    When I got downstairs, disappointment swept over me. Dinosaur’s merch table was piled high with $20 albums and shirts of a band only recently excavated. They even had albums by Sebadoh and J Mascis and the Fog, as if the show’s whole point was to further the careers of the two bandmates.

    And what else would the point be, numbnuts ? Idiot college writer trying too hard to be pithy.

    Well, bands aren’t supposed to make money, are they? They’re just supposed to give away all their music for free and be grateful that bumholes like this guy even deign to pay attention to it. This guy’s piece reminds me of what Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers says about people like him: "*You* go live in a fuckin’ van, you asshole. You go home to your nice mommy-and-daddy little bed there and think about what a sellout I am."

    #113393
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    dazedcola
    Participant
    "Coma Girl " wrote:
    They chugged straight into “Freak Scene.� Veterans danced along as young headbangers discovered Nirvana’s extensive debt to Dinosaur Jr. The pit gave two thumbs up as the band raced into final number “Mountain Man,� only stopping as the house lights went up. As I headed out to ice my ear drums, the crowd remained, trying to coax out just a little more of that preciously crude fossil fuel.

    what an idiot, he walked out before they did the second encore and played "in a jar". This guys obviously isnt a dinosaur jr fan and was just assigned to write a 1000 words about them to some paper. Thats a shame because im sure a real fan would have gladly taken his ungratuitous place.

    "tom_in_chicago " wrote:
    And a Superchunk cover ??? ::) he confuses The Cure w/ Superchunk ??

    no you got it all wrong. I was there dinosaur jr didn’t even play "just like heaven" but at one point during the show lou joked about playing "slack motherfucker".

    #113394
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    lookitssam
    Participant

    Wow, it was in a Boston paper too. Weird.

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