Dinosaur Jr. – Rough Trade NYC – August 5, 2016
Forget about the Olympics. Anyone looking for a classic example of people getting together to produce greatness despite their differences need look no further than J Mascis and Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr. Their historic infighting dissolved the band in the late ’90s in what was bound to remain a tale of what could have been. Yet against the odds, they reunited in 2005 sounding as good as ever, putting out album after album like nothing had changed. And in a way, things haven’t: They still don’t get along. Barlow recently admitted that he’s hardly on speaking terms with frontman Mascis. They’re like an indie-rock Fleetwood Mac minus the mountains of cocaine and intraband romances.
Friday night at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade NYC marked the release and celebration of Dinosaur Jr.’s fourth post-reunion full-length, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, another ear-splitting album to add to the band’s canon. The humbly introverted Mascis nestled into his stack of Marshall amps while sporting a giant blue Cookie Monster T-shirt. They kicked off the set with the muddy classic “The Lung,” with Barlow’s heavy slaps of bass crashing down like his Muppet mop of hair. The new album’s first track, “Goin’ Down,” followed with Mascis providing buzzsaw riffs reminiscent of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades.” “I don’t think we’ve made it through this song one time,” said Barlow, introducing “Love Is….” And if not for the squelching Mascis guitar solo in the middle of it, the tune could have easily been mistaken for one by Barlow’s other band, Sebadoh.
Mascis’ noodling appeared as effortless as ever—no one shreds as nonchalantly as he does, and it’s not even close. The soloing outro of “I Walk for Miles” was enough to burn down the venue, and even if it had, Mascis would’ve probably just stood there like the This Is Fine dog. The set closed with a tear through the classics, “Start Choppin’,” “Freak Scene” and a massive “Gargoyle” jam, plus a two-song encore of “The Wagon” and “Out There.” Some people believe God scattered dinosaur bones around the planet to confuse us about evolution, to test our faith. Those people are fucking crazy, but not as crazy as the fact that after all these years, Dinosaur Jr. are still together, and not just together but still insanely good. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nricks
Photos courtesy of Pat Tabb | pattabb.com