More about: Dinosaur Jr
There are so many things that could be mentioned about tonightâ€™s gig; the predominance of bearded long-hairs in flannel shirts, or the Layne Staley clone in front of Gigwise in queue. What about the faded Nirvana tee shirts that really were purchased back in â€˜91, and not last week in Camden market? We could muse upon the sudden and very desperate need for laws against over-30â€™s crowd surfing. But this gigs not really about any of that. Sure, if you have a couple to drink and squint at the stage you could probably convince yourself you were in the club scene from Cameron Croweâ€˜s film â€˜Singlesâ€™, but dig beyond any teary-eyed reasons for attendance and itâ€™s obvious; tonight is all about that gargantuan sound.
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It would be easy to resort to some kind of pompous pop culture reference here; something along the lines of â€˜the sound of a bedraggled Jimmy Page losing a fight with Tony Iommi, but that wouldnâ€™t really do Dinosaur Jrâ€™s psychedelic metal justice. Instead, the most accurate description for the noise booming from the Forumâ€™s PA is: Waaaaaaaoooowwww!â€¦.. Waaaaaaaaaoooooow!â€¦.. Suuuuurrrgghhhhh.. Vrroooomphaargh.. Vrooooom.. Neeeeeeeiiiiirrrrrrrreeeghhhh.. WaaaahWaaahWaaaah!â€¦ Vrooomph.Wooomphâ€¦ Woooooommmmphghhh.. Neeeeeirrrrrrrrrooooooooooossss.. hhhwahwahwahwahneeeeiii..rrrreeeeeaaaaaaah!
Awash in a sea of feedback; J Mascis hammers away like a true guitar hero. Everything he plays is pressing to defiantly jump out of one key and into another, although somehow he never seems to hit a bad note. Itâ€™s the sound of the hounds of hell chasing a lifetime of demons out of a battered Fender.
The band play close together, with drummer Murph brought up front, flanked by Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow, and everyone encircled by Marshall stacks. This creates a sense of intimacy thatâ€™s reinforced by their decision to take every opportunity to jam. As the do, the tension builds and Dinosaur Jr get REALLY FUCKING LOUD. Even when theyâ€™re quiet, theyâ€™re still pretty damn loud by most bands standards. Fortunately itâ€™s a pleasure to hear that broken voice return to sing favourites like â€˜Little Fury Thingsâ€™, â€˜In A Jarâ€™, and a visceral rendition of â€˜Sludegfeastâ€™. They even play their cover of The Cureâ€˜s â€˜Just Like Heavenâ€˜, which is still as humorous as ever; all the way through to that sudden ending. They leave the stage twice, but everyone knows the shows not over until they play inevitable closer â€˜Freaksceneâ€˜. The guys at the back whoâ€™ve been dancing like silly buggers finally snap.
Dinosaur Jr are part of a legacy that belongs to many bands. Seminal isnâ€™t a word that should be used lightly, but along with The Pixies and Sonic Youth, they did sow the seeds for an alt-rock movement that would pave the way for bands like Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins et al. Any reunion runs the dangerous risk of just plodding though the hits, thereby ruining the bands hard-won reputation, and casting an ugly shadow over their past efforts just for the sake of buying Lou a new hip. To reform after ten years apart takes courage; what if you canâ€™t recapture the magic conjured the first time around? Fortunately Mascis and cohorts have emerged from The Fog with ease. A couple of false starts aside; only four shows in theyâ€™re as tight as veterans should be, but still play like they have everything to prove. And I managed to get to through this review without using the word grunge.
More about: Dinosaur Jr