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    Very pleasing review, I thought it was loud on the balcony as well… 8)


    Dinosaur Jr. / Jason Loewenstien
    The Quest
    July 23th 2005
    Minneapolis, MN

    2005 is quickly becoming the year of the reunion, making the early part of the oughts a veritable feast of reunion tours. One after another, favorites from the past are coming out of the woodwork to the soundtrack of cash registers chiming in the wind. And I don’t mean that to sound as though money is the only motivation for these people to get back together again, but I’m sure the success of these tours isn’t hurting. The first big one was The Pixies, then Slint, now everyone is getting in on the action, but I don’t think “greedy� should be the term associated with these shows (because I’ve been hearing it tossed around). Rather, I think the success can be attributed to the complete crapfest the larger underground scene is right now.

    Dinosaur Jr., along with The Pixies and Slint, are from another point and time in the great history of rock and roll. They all come from a time when radio playlists weren’t decided by people who couldn’t care less about music. They are all from a time when originality and uniqueness were rewarded with equal exposure and airtime. It wasn’t a perfect world, but they were definitely different days my friends.

    Steph and I were both pretty excited about the opportunity to see Dinosaur Jr. As soon as the dates were announced Steph made sure we had that weekend open and we planned on making the roadtrip to my hometown. The show was booked for the Quest, which has become quite the hotspot in Minneapolis ever sense First Ave had gone downhill. It seems that the majority of good shows are split between the Triple Rock and The Quest these days; bad for First Ave, but good for music lovers.

    For being our first time at this club we were impressed with the whole thing. The sound was great, the layout made sense (which in Minneapolis is a rarity; see Ground Zero), and in the most shocking surprise yet, the staff was nice. We made our way upstairs just in time to watch the opening band ruin the good vibes. The Reaction are a four-piece that wear horrible outfits and play 70’s rock that blatantly rips off their influences. Think two shades away from Zubas and riffs straight out of “Mountain Jam�. It was bad, but thankfully it didn’t last that long.

    Next to take the stage was Jason Loewenstein and his “band�. 45-minutes of Loewenstein rock, it was the best remedy to get the taste of The Reaction out of our mouths. His set was peppered with praises screamed to him from the crowd. “LOEWENSTEIN!!!!�, would garner a sheepish chuckle and a ‘thank you’ from the bandleader. His songs are short and brash, full of fire and melody. Clocking in around 3 minutes per song, Loewenstein has built his creations on strong rhythmical foundations, which provide a perfect launching pad for his hair-raising guitar work. Furious riffs would fly from his hands while the rhythm section pounded forward in an equally aggressive fashion. Their set was great, and had me wanting to get a hold of some of his solo CD that was released on Sub Pop a few years ago.

    Then the waiting game started. Loewenstein and co. pulled off the stage around 7:20 (yeah, it was an early show), with set up for D Jr. starting immediately after they were cleared away. The tech sound checked J’s guitar first, then moved over to Lou’s bass set up, and finished with Murph’s drum set… it was maybe 7:35. Then we sat and waited, and waited… the crowd (at least all of us old folk upstairs) started to get anxious. It was 7:55… toes were tapping and the quiet frustration could be heard in a muted “buulllshiiit bullllshhiiiit� chant directly behind me. I felt his pain.

    But finally around 8:10 the three we had all been waiting for crept out from the shadows of backstage to the cheers and screams of the few hundred fans that filled the bottom floor of the venue. It was kind of surreal. J, in all of his awkward guitar god glory, donned one of his signature Jaguar Fender guitars. Lou, back on stage and part of Dinosaur. And Murph… shaved head and shirtless.

    Without wasting too much time they busted into “Quest�, in honor of the venues name. And from there their set just blurs into one amazing song after another. At first I was annoyed by the young group of guys close to the front of the stage. They were rowdy and jumping all around, hands flailing. I usually hate that kind of celebrity worship at any show (of any size). But then I thought about what was actually happening. Four or Five friends were so excited to get a chance to see a band that broke up probably well before they were old enough to be into them, that they acted like complete idiots when J ripped threw his first solo. This was great. Young kids were excited about good music. They were so happy to become deaf at the hands of one of their musical heroes that they didn’t care what they looked like to anyone else in the place. I admired them for it… I mean, they still looked like idiots up there, but they were happy. And I was happy, because there might be hope for the youth.

    The rest of the show was spent soaking in the high volume wash of amazing tunes. The band seemed incredibly tight and obviously in the zone as far as being on tour. Their interplay with the audience was sparse, but seemed honest. J would occasionally say something quiet and short into the mic, usually at a barely audible level, and Lou would take the mic even less than J (although he did dedicate a song to recently passed Minnesotans Mitch Headburgh and Karl Mueller). But it seemed like that’s the way it was supposed to go down. While they rocked the crap out of the place, they still left a little mystery.

    Steph and I made our way down to the main floor for the last few songs. We thought it was loud on the balcony… we were wrong. We were standing in back at it was still almost too much to take. I can’t imagine that the people up front, even with earplugs, didn’t have a little problem with a ringing the next morning. Hell, I was only down there for two songs and I was affected.

    After it was over, we walked back to our car, expressing how great we thought the show was to each other. Once in the car we talked about how that was not only one of the best shows we’ve been to recently, but that it reminded us of why we liked music in the first place. If you are anywhere near a city these three are coming to, you owe it to yourself to go. It honestly was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

    – Jake Haselman | 2005-07-28

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