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Dinosaur Jr. at Musica

By malcolm Published: April 9, 2009

Apparently, indie rock bands don't die, they just break up/shed members and do their own thing until the inevitable reunion show/tour where they can make more money in a few months of nostalgia fueled touring than in their initial incarnation (see, Pixies).
The original Dinosaur Jr. lineup didn't break up, they just shed original bassist Lou Barlow who did alright for himself in Sebadoh and wrote one of the one of the best kiss-off songs ever in The Freed Pig .

Wednesday night at Musica, the reconstituted trio of indie rock graybeards took a pleasant and highly amplified trip through their back catalog and songs from their 2007 reunion album Beyond.

Since this is a blog that only about seven people actually read (thanks, folks) I'll be honest and admit I'm pretty bad with song titles, particularly the titles of songs I haven't listened to in 15 years. Consequently, I can't offer a full set list (unless you want "titles" such as "the slow song that goes arpeggioX5-doon-doon-doon from Without A Sound.)

Nevertheless, the trio played several recognizable "hits" including Freak Scene and Out There and a few new tunes from the much-better-than-most-folks expected Beyond, such as Lou Barlow's Back To Your Heart and the catchy start-stop rocker Been There All The Time.

The band also dropped in a few post Barlow tracks such as Feel The Pain (the song referred to in the above ersatz title, btw). Besides seeing about 2/3 of the people I know in this town (good to see ya, Juice!), the sold out crowd was a mix of youngsters and thirty and forty-somethings.
Mascis one of indie rock's few acknowledged guitar gods didn't say much to the audeince, instead he stood in front of his Marshall stack and did the bulk of his talking through his guitar and stompboxes, making his guitar wail, cry and moan.

One thing is for sure, the band are better musicians than they were "back in the day" and the set was played for the most part with workman-like precision though slick-headed drummer Murph screwed up Been There All The Time, drawing a joke from Barlow and a quick, humorless look of disapproval from Mascis.

The guitarist's signature disaffected, bored-sounding vocal drawl once considered the vocal encapsulation of Gen-X apathy (at least before Kurt Cobain moaned "oh well, whatever, nevermind" to the masses), actually sounds better these days as Mascis cares enough and is able to stay in key.

Unfortunately, I missed most of the opening act Awesome Color due to dog vomit and hunger.
Wait, that sounds gross.
Let me be specific.
First, the dog vomited (apparently Slim Jim wrappers aren't as digestible as Slim Jims) and then I went somewhere else to eat dinner.

But, I digress.

Since Musica is quite serious about starting on time, I only caught the Michigan band's last few songs which were marred by muddy a subpar mix. The songs I heard seemed indebted to the band's Michigan roots playing a mix of Stooges and MC5 influenced riff rock, minus the former's psychosis and the latter's righteous radicalism.




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