The three guys in the massively influential band Dinosaur Jr.—singer-guitarist J. Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph—have played together since the early ’80s. Well, that’s not exactly true. That’s when they began making music together. Barlow actually left the band following the release of Bug in 1988. Fortunately, he returned to the fold in 2005. The trio has since released three more albums, including this year’s well-received I Bet on Sky. But back in 1987, they put out their seminal album, the grunge masterpiece You’re Living All Over Me, filled with stellar songwriting, loud guitars and a healthy dose of feedback. And to celebrate the album’s 25th anniversary, Dinosaur Jr. (above, doing “Little Fury Things,” for KEXP FM) will play two sets tomorrow night at Terminal 5: one with the LP done in its entirety and a second with a group of special guests—including Kim Gordon, Johnny Marr, Al Cisneros and Kurt Vile. This is one you won’t want to miss.
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Mention Dinosaur Jr. around casual music fans and they’ll likely know the name. But that’s as far as the familiarity reaches, while aficionados of the group so rightfully revere the musicians for helping provide the backbone of a new and edgier sound in the ’90s. Despite that divide, the trio’s performance at Terminal 5 tomorrow night will be the perfect way for both types of fans to see the band. Taking cues from the recent explosion of commemorative tours, Dinosaur Jr. (above, performing “Freak Scene”) will play their third album, Bug, in its entirety.
For the newbies, this is one of the group’s most melodic albums: the aural equivalent of easing into the pool of their discography one ladder step at a time. Curious fans can wade around in the big sound from a wall of amplifiers, and even though it features acoustic guitar (gasp!) within the first few tracks, the material will still showcase frontman J. Mascis’ big solos and infamously hazy guitar tone. Those who feel comfortable diving right in can push toward the barrier, as close to those massive speakers as the venue will allow.
In addition to an interview by fellow rock deity Henry Rollins, the diehards get a chance to see one of Dinosaur Jr.’s classic albums played start to finish, a welcome choice considering just six years ago those fans were wondering whether Dinosaur Jr. would ever play together again. Bands like this don’t often put on shows that offer something for everyone, but it shouldn’t be a surprise when that’s exactly what they do this Thursday. —Sean O’Kane