Live Review: Dinosaur Jr. Brought Punk-Rock-Tinged Nostalgia to The Independent

Dinosaur Jr. proved they are anything but extinct by kicking off an explosive, sold out three-night stand at The Independent last night.

The excitement outside of the small but reputably noisy club grew from a murmuring rag-tag assembly of former punks and wide-eyed second generation fans into a rowdy mismatched assortment of people with ultimately one thing in common: A love of loud, fast, and confusion-laden punk-rock.

The trio — consisting of  J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph — formed in 1984, and similar to their West Coast contemporaries NOFX and Bad Religion, blazed a trail that would eventually welcome Green Day and Blink-182 into the mainstream.

After releasing seven albums, Dinosaur Jr. officially disbanded in 1997. But in 2004, Mascis regained the master rights to the music, and by 2005, they were all scheduled for reissue. In 2007, the original trio released Beyond, their first new album since 1997. Most recently, they released Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, the band’s eleventh studio album.

Nostalgia aside, on Monday night, people were ready to rock. What Dinosaur Jr. eschews in gimmicks or talent they more than make up for it with volume and natural distortion. Their stage set-up was intimidating for such a small space, and included three full-stack pillars, with Murph’s drum kit front and center.

J Mascis (Credit: Joshua Huver)
J Mascis (Credit: Joshua Huver)

For nearly an hour and a half, Dinosaur Jr. tore through 15 songs from their catalog. After opening with “Bulbs Of Passion” from their eponymous 1985 debut Dinosaur, Mascis actually turned the volume up, guaranteeing that his vocals would be washed out by the music. Following 1987’s “The Lung,” the band jumped into their new material, performing “Love Is…” and “Goin Down” from Give A Glimpse. “The Wagon,” “Watch The Sky,” and pieces saw the band honing in on the mid-’90s period where they were at their most commercially successful.

Keeping fans on the edge of their toes for their favorite tunes, they played another track, “Tiny,” off of the new record, before obliging fans with arguably their biggest hit, “Feel The Pain,” off of 1994’s Without A Sound, a track that was also showcased in the fourth installment of the Guitar Hero video game franchise.

The fan favorite “Start Choppin’” from Where You Been was sandwiched between two more new tracks from Give A Glimpse and they ended the set with the anthemic “Freak Scene” from the 1988 album Bug.

They returned to the stage shortly after the last song for their encore. It was a bit anticlimactic, if only because no matter how hard the crowd roared and raged, the volume never reached more than a fraction of the audible assault just witnessed. Nonetheless, people were screaming their hearts out, and the band re-emerged for a two-song encore featuring the only selections from 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me: A cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and “Sludgefeast,” a word that truly captures the magic of a Dinosaur Jr. experience.


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