October 3, 2009

That Was The Show That Was: Dinosaur Jr. (Night 1) | Middle East

Dinosaur Jr., Middle East Downstairs, 10/2/09; Photos by Michael Piantigini

Whose crowd is more enraptured by the sound of "Just Like Heaven?" The Cure's? Or Dinosaur Jr.'s? My money's on the latter. By the time the band got through to this capper of their 80 or so minutes, tonight's adoring crowd went nuts at the sound of that bass line. Sure, Dinosaur Jr. is part nostalgia trip, especially for loooong-time fans -- how could they not be? But the ranges in age at the gig, along with the band's two especially strong albums since reforming the original line-up, make Dinosaur one of the few indie bands of their era that successfully transcend generations. There are plenty of young fans to keep J Mascis in purple high tops for a long time.

Though it seems like Mascis gets all the accolades, the original line-up is as much about drummer Murph and, especially, bassist Lou Barlow. How do you find room between Mascis' 3 full stacks (plus another combo) and Murph's thunder? Partially by fighting fire with fire: Barlow's Marshall half-stack/Ampeg SVT combination deals a wallop; but its Lou's throwing his entire body into his playing -- flailing with the bass and playing huge chords -- that helps put him on equal footing.

This is one of those shows where there will always be some folks disappointed that they didn't play their favorite song, but Dinosaur covered a lot of ground. Half-a-dozen -- most of all the strongest tracks -- from this year's Farm were represented, though I was disappointed that "Been There All The Time" was the lone representative from 2007's excellent Beyond. There were plenty of great oldies, of course: they tore through "Forget The Swan," and "Freak Scene" was every bit the anthem it should be. Post-Barlow (and pre-Barlow, as it turns out) tracks like the epic opener "Thumb," along with "Get Me" and "Feel The Pain," feel a little weird with Barlow playing them (like, why not throw in a Sebadoh song then?), but he puts enough of a stamp on them to make the set a well-rocked full-on career-spanner. Only 1997's Hand It Over went unrepresented, but I don't think it was missed. Watch this space for Jay's report on tonight's show, when Dinosaur plays the finale of their two-night stand at the Middle East. -- Michael Piantigini

Here's the full setlist:

1. Thumb
2. Been There All The Time
3. I Want You To Know
4. Imagination Blind
5. In A Jar
6. Get Me
7. Pieces
8. Plans
9. Feel The Pain
10. Over It
11. Forget The Swan
12. The Wagon
13. Freak Scene
14. I Don't Wanna Go There

15. Kracked
16. Just Like Heaven

1 comment:

Veee said...

they didn't play it in Paris :(