Thursday, March 30, 2006

When Dinosaurs roamed the earth

Its about 14 hours after the Dinosaur Jr. show at Gypsy, and I'm just now recovering from thoroughly getting my ass kicked. What a fucking show. It was easily the best concert I've been to all year, which is sort of sad when you consider the fact that J Mascis looks like a roadie for Country Joe and the Fish these days (even though Lou Barlow looks about, um, 25.) But aesthetics aside, Mascis and company were somehow able to mostly transcend 90's nostalgia (which will probably be trendy in a couple years) and put on a show that seemed about as relevant and timely as possible for a band that hasn't put out any new music in almost a decade.

They stuck to early, Barlow era Dinosaur material, playing all the hits ("Freak Scene," "The Wagon," etc.) and some rare gems that I didn't expect. The sound was tight, loud, and powerful, and Mascis was as flawless and inspiring on guitar as I imagined he possibly could be, not to mention the fact that Barlow played really well and Murph completely rocked the place on drums. Like I said yesterday, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this show. Would it feel like a "Greatest Hits" tour, something that was a tad out of step with times, worth seeing only for the memories that you associate with the band's past glory? It easily could have been, but it wasn't. At all. Sure, the songs they played were all more than fifteen years old, and yes, a lot of really crappy bands that have emerged since that time have taken little pieces of the Dinosaur sound and turned it into, well, crap. But that didn't matter one bit to me and the slightly too old for a rock concert crowd. It also didn't seem to matter to the surprising number of younger people there (as in uncer 21), proving that the kids have slightly better taste than they are normally given credit for. Dinosaur's songs are big and sprawling, sloppy and massive, and have pretty much nothing to do with the 80's retro post-punk thing that is getting too old to even mention these days. It was refreshing to hear these songs again, and even more refreshing to be reminded that I still like them, and that there still aren't very many bands on the "indie" circuit that can hold a fucking candle to these guys.

I think this was probably the one and only chance I will ever get to see these guys play live, and I am thrilled that I shelled out the 20 bucks to do so. Anyone that went to that Jenny Lewis show instead made a HUGE mistake.


Blogger wakka-wakka said...

Lou Barlow walked right past me as I was waiting on line to get in. You're right, the guy is freakishly ageless.

But his "stage banter" or gargling or whatever you call it was the only thing that really took away from what was otherwise an absolutely perfect, more-than-I-could-ask-for, show (well, that and the kind of too slow "In a Jar"). When I saw Sebadoh I remember them playing tape loops between songs. Looking back now I'm thinking these were designed by J.Loew as preemptive interruption of the inane mumbling.

Maybe this is why Djr. (and Sebadoh) broke up? Lou Barlow is completely annoying?

2:08 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

yeah, I agree, that was kind of annoying. But it really didn't bother me that much.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous eddddddddd said...

Barlow's the shit. Loved every bit of the show.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think Barlow was just trying to find the most annoying way to do a vocal check between songs. bytheway the concert was fucking insanely loud!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous BULBS OF PASSION said...

Did Murph give all his hair to the Dead Meadow drummer or what?

I love Lou .... his solo & Sebadoh performances these days are much more (non-schizophrenically) solid and together than they EVER were in the Nineties. Do not miss the chance to see him next time he's doing his own songs.

That said, be very glad he stuck to gargling. Lou can be incredibly awkward, and few things were more awkward than seeing him and J on stage together after all the venom that has flown over the years (has everybody heard Lou's sped-up mockery of "The Lung" on the Weed Forestin' portion of the Freed Weed?).

I've seen J and Lou many many times on their own, but never did I expect to see them get onstage together and sing Forget the Swan together which they wrote when they were, what, 20?

And it was fun hearing some spells of Deep Wound-ish hardcore too. They were what 16 then?

At the risk of ruining a short and effective post, however, I must say that I've seen at least two other (non-Lou) Dinosaur shows that were clearly better ... Lollapalooza and the "farewell" tour in 98.

So don't ever forget J Mascis is a must see in any way shape or form. He can always be counted on to bust out the huge Dino-jams as only he can.

4:52 PM  
Blogger wakka-wakka said...

I did't see the '98 show, but saw the Lollapalooza show and the '91 (or so) Green Mind show at Trees. Honestly, I can't remember if either of those shows were better...but they were definitely louder! Even outdoors, their Lollapalooza set was loud. And the one at Trees probably caused permanent damage. I'm really thankful they didn't play that loud last night. I have a job now and a wife that expects me to listen to her.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously awesome show!!!

5:46 PM  
Anonymous bulbs of passion said...

My skull is still bruised from that Trees show for Green Mind. I have never been kicked in the head so many times by tall lanky crowd surfers with army boots. I do recall that the vocals were mixed so low as to be nearly non-existent.

The Lollapalooza show featured some real moments where it seemed like half the lawn was moshing into, around, and through the bonfires during Raisans or The Wagon or something equally wonderful. That was the moment I felt Dinosaur got validated in the minds of the masses, sort of in the way Sonic Youth was at their palooza (if it wasnt the same one).

It was also fun seeing Dino open for Neil Young in an arena in '93.

But if you've never seen The Year Punk Broke then you've never heard thousands upon thousands of screaming Euros doing their freaky best "when I need a friend it's still you" in unison

5:48 PM  
Anonymous jasper said...

man, i love dinosaur jr. and saw gramps j. mascis play a solo set of scorching dinosaur songs a couple of years ago. still, i opted for the jenny lewis set and am glad i did. sure, she's an easy target for this crowd, but the songs really are good and i felt like i was taking in a hip country/gospel show at church. anyhow, sounds like the gypsy tea room was a good time.

6:14 PM  
Blogger wakka-wakka said...

Ah, that Green Mind show. Don't remember anything about the levels, or how well Dinosaur Jr. or the Flaming Lips played. What I do remember is that it was really loud, and that that at one point I asked my friend if he thought I could pull off Ronald Jones' hairstyle. Yeah, I was pretty superficial back then in the years before punk broke.

And I remember trying to avoid the pit at every show I went to. I'm glad that's over.

Neil Young used to have some pretty cool openers. I saw Sonic Youth and Social Distortion open for him around the same time. I'm guessing that was the first and last time "Expressway to Yr Skull" was performed at Reunion Arena.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that wolf by the waterfall t-shirt is way mystic.

9:49 AM  

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