Dinosaur Jr. returns,volume still cranked
By Marc Hirsh, Globe Correspondent | July 18, 2005
With: Magik Markers and Feathers At: Avalon, Friday
It wasn’t booing but actually a low chorus of ”Loooooooooou" that greeted the three original members of Dinosaur Jr. when they stepped onto the stage Friday night at Avalon to play their first Boston show together in more than 15 years. The audience was mostly made up of young indie rock fans who should have known bassist Lou Barlow primarily from his tenure in Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion, but it quickly became clear that they were intimately familiar with Dinosaur Jr.’s first three albums .
The band didn’t treat the show like any sort of homecoming. There were no jokes, no expressions of gratitude, no displays of brotherly camaraderie or good-natured rivalry. They simply went about their business, not really saying much to the audience (save for guitarist J Mascis reprimanding them with, ”Your requests will be no good. Just be quiet.") and fiddling with their instruments in the downtime instead.
What they did was play their songs, all drawn from the Barlow era. There were no post-Barlow hits such as ”Out There" or ”Feel The Pain" — but Dinosaur Jr.’s overpowering attack didn’t betray the age of either the songs or the musicians. Mascis was always something of an anomaly, aiming for guitar heroics in a late-’80s college scene that mostly rejected such flashiness, and he kept it up at Avalon, with songs such as ”The Lung," ”Raisans," and a cover of the Cure’s ”Just Like Heaven" providing backdrops for his squalling, Neil Young-like solos. The rhythm section of Barlow and drummer Emmett Murphy supported him like a skewed and hypercharged Crazy Horse.
It was that looseness and energy, and not such conspicuous signs of age such as Mascis’s long gray hair, that characterized the evening. Dinosaur Jr. played like a young band, and if those who saw them the first time around could compare them to the young band they once were, those who weren’t old enough to have been part of their freak scene back then felt right at home.
Opening band Feathers was an eight-piece mixed-gender folk collective incorporating harp, dulcimer, sitar, and musical saw. They were followed by Magik Markers, whose three members created 15 minutes of free-form chaotic noise.