Dinosaur Jr. at Toad's Place

Man, do I love a good rock show. I will be the first to admit I do not go for all the post-rock, hard-core, slashing, screaming, constant feeback whatever. I think it's very easy to do badly. But I also think Dinosaur Jr. are brilliant. Whereas I might walk in to another show and have my teeth set on edge, making me all jittery on the surface, Dino get a place below my sternum vibrating and it's this unbelievable all-consuming understanding. Also, and this is important, they wrote songs. With harmonies, structure, layering, and melodies, even. Sometimes you have to work to hear them, but I like that, too! It's like a secret, my own little treasure hunt. Hunt for the hook. Ha.

Anyway, about the show. The band had all of their guitars ripped off just hours before it started. I heard some dude behind me speculating on the subject, and Lou Barlow confirmed it before they even started playing. It looked like his bass in the encore had a price tag on it, so I'm guessing they borrowed some from a local shop. The first couple of songs felt like they were just phoning it in, but then I think they warmed up to us.

The warming came through in their commitment to the sound, but there was no marked difference in demeanor, at least not in J's. As probably every audience member in the history of Dinosaur Jr. shows would tell you, J Mascis sure can play him some guitar. But without any kind of anguished shredder face or flailing gesticulation. In fact, now that his long locks have gone silver and his jowls slightly droopy, similarities are somewhere between Gandalf, basset hound, and weeping willow. Does anyone else think his nasal sounds a bit like Jay Farrar's? You were gonna say Neil Young. Their songs sound like Crazy Horse-era Young, by way of the Stooges. But his voice has something just a little bit (more) country about it. Regardless, I think it's the right counterpart to their stuff.

I don't know how to wrap this up, but I need to get some sleep because my boss gets back tomorrow (today). I guess, for my less musically inclined friends, go look up Dinosaur Jr. in your normal music resources and find out how genre-defining they were, how personal tension got between them and the music, and then how the wonderful compassion and mellowing of age have brought them back together. Then go see them on their now year-and-a-half long reunion tour. You won't regret it.


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