The latest video from Dinosaur Jr features the three original band members J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and ‘Murph’ (Emmett Jefferson Murphy) trying to pull off the tricks of their youth on skateboards and a BMX – a self-conscious admission that past glories are almost always impossible to replicate. Happily Dinosaur Jr, with past feuds now behind them, manage it, even if they can’t ollie like they used to, because they have always been about the music. The most ardent fan would never claim that you go to a Dinosaur Jr. gig for the lightshow, political messages or the witty banter between songs. No. You just get three men, barely able to fit on stage because of the six Marshall stacks surrounding them, heads down, tearing through a stentorian catalogue of rampant songs. Mascis, with his metronome of flowing, now silver, hair, stands in front of a collection of pedals that pin him to his amp, while he assails the audience with a barrage of noise that never quite obscures the sonorous, occasionally soporific, melodies.
There was little sign of an evolution in their sound in the three decades that have elapsed between ‘In A Jar’ from 1987’s ‘You’re Living All Over Me’ that they opened with and ‘I Want You To Know’ from their new album ‘Farm’ that came next. Concorde 2 is an intimate and relaxed venue but it gives you nowhere to hide. ‘Over It’ and Freak Scene’ were predictably thrilling, tighter than Slayer, and almost as loud, it was a series of audible epiphanies with none of the self-obsessed bollocks referred to as showmanship these days. They haven’t aged in outlook and neither have their audience, all wearing the same brands as twenty years ago, (although, I did see quite a few resorting to day-glo ear plugs in an attempt to limit the damage to their not quite so young inner ears) and perhaps this is a generation that never will age in the same shuffling, resigned manner of the current crop of oldies. We’ll be wearing Vans, grubby jeans and check shirts while skateboarding through the corridors of our nursing homes with Dinosaur Jr on a loop through our hearing aids. A throbbing encore including ‘Kracked’, with an epic guitar solo finale that reminded everyone why Mascis is so revered as a guitar player, brought things to a close. He offered a single word, ‘thanks’, as they all trudged off the stage. The only full word he uttered throughout the entire ninety minute set.
Photo by Rachel Poulton. See more here.