July 17, 2005. Five years ago, a reunion of Dinosaur Jr (version Ã¢â‚¬â„¢87) seemed about as likely as a Jag Bhaduria re-elect. But sure enough, founding members J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph decided in early 2005 to bury the hatchet and road test songs from their first three albums one more time. And the great news is, they have yet to evoke flesh wounds on one another. Nice!
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not familiar with Dinosaur Jr folklore, Barlow was allegedly ousted from the band back in 1989 after a dramatic power struggle between he and lead guitarist Mascis. Yet logically, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have to assume it was something far less dramatic, considering how passive aggressive these guys are. Barlow went on to lambaste Mascis in Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Free PigÃ¢â‚¬?, an early tune from BarlowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s post-Dino project Sebadoh, while Mascis continued well into the 1990Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, dusting sleep from his eyes and getting away with some of the meatiest double tapping this side of Eddie Van Halen. The Dinosaur moniker was ultimately chucked into the tarpit for good in 1997.
Back to the present, the sludge-y power trio kicked off this reunion evening inside a positively sweltering Phoenix with Ã¢â‚¬Å“GargoyleÃ¢â‚¬? from their 1985Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s self-titled debut. This after a VERY funny mishap with the curtains that seemed pulled from the Muppets playbook. (a dramatically stage entrance was thwarted when the curtains only lifted half way, sending a team of roadies and Barlow himself scrambling to make amends). Mascis seemed pretty ambivalence to the whole production, half hunched over his axe with his silvery locks looking positively Merlin-esque. Jumping next into Ã¢â‚¬Å“In a JarÃ¢â‚¬? and Ã¢â‚¬Å“The LungÃ¢â‚¬? from YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Living All Over Me, Mascis slowly lurched about with the odd break for some head banging and/or knob twiddling. Barlow looked positively spry in comparison and all told, the band played nicely off the tension that split Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem up in the first placeÃ¢â‚¬â€