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Friday, 20 January 2017 |
Dinosaur Jr is one of the most iconic and influential bands to have come out of America in the last thirty years. Whether its songwriting, guitar riffs and attitude, no discussion about American rock'n'roll is complete without talking about Dinosaur Jr. The band have always been faithful to it's Australian fans. Regular visitors whether its with Dinosaur Jr or there solo/side projects, happen almost every second year. The band has now returned for their umpteenth visit to play two nights in a row at The Croxton Bandroom in Thornbury.
The band return to promote their eleventh studio album, Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, which is a cracker. In fact every album they have made since their reformation back in 2005 has been nothing short of brilliant. It looks like a break and taking time to mend friendships made the band even tighter and more creative.
The bands last Australian visit as a group (J Mascis and Lou Barlow have both toured solo in between) was in 2013. I was lucky enough to see them live at the Espy Front Bar in St Kilda. Not so much a gig from memory as it was Mascis and Barlow at twenty passes with duelling bass and guitar going at it. Songs seemed to go on for ten minutes and finish whenever the hell they wanted to. It was amazing.
Walking in a bloke asked for earplugs. Wuss was what went through my head but as I entered the Croxton and saw the stack of Marshall AMPs. I think my fellow punter had the right idea. The Lung kicks off the show tonight and they start it with the curtains up. About 90 seconds in a Mascis touches the pedal and we are off. The crowd cheers and I believe. When i saw the band at the Espy a few year ago i complained i never saw Mascis's face. Now I am standing stage right I see Mascis's face but can't see Lou or Murph. Dang. I go to the back for a second to see the whole band. Lou Barlow is playing like his life depends on it. Like if he stops, he will never play again. Murph is killing it behind the kit, as always. These three blokes separately or in another band would be worth seeing, but together as a collective they are unstoppable. The just click like when a car changes gears perfectly.
After the first song Mascis says, "Hi and thanks for coming". A few songs later he said, "Here's a few from our new record". That was the extent of the sparse banter. It’s a common debate onstage banter, good or bad. I don’t mind a bit of it myself, but if you’ve seen Mascis' interviews, its not such a band thing he keeps his talking to the bare minimum. After three songs they play a few off the new album, which go down as well as the hits. 'Watch The Corner' (which Mascis performed on the TV show, RocKwiz) and 'Pieces' from 2009's Farm get a run. 'Feel The Pain' gets the biggest reception of the night but every song is a welcome addition, not one opening riff got a bum note from the crowd.
I am hear with two brilliant 3PBS announcers in Michael Mulholland and Phil McDougall. Both are giving me a history lesson on the bands history in Australia. Phil has great memories of seeing Dinosaur Jr at the Old Greek Theatre in 1989, while Mikey tells me of Bruce Milne importing Bug when it was released to distribute on his iconic independent record label Au Go Go Records. Phil says, "I hope they play 'Repulsion' and in cue they go into it. Phil raises his glass as a thanks.
About an hours in, J has swapped his guitar at least six times. I think of The Go-Betweens' Robert Forster's ten rules of rock'n'roll. One rule states any guitarist who changes guitars every three songs is showing off his collection. In the case of J Mascis it is true, yet he is a master of his craft. As a non player I can tell he is up there with the best of the best. Like I said before, you can’t talk about the history of rock music in America without Dinosaur Jr, Mascis belongs in anyone's top 10 guitarists list.
Before the encore Lou graces us with a solo shout out to the crowd. As much as I love J Mascis, it seems Barlow and Murph are both the quiet achievers in the band. It always seems everyone raves on the wizard bloke and the other two are just there.
As much as Mascis is brilliant (case in point his solo work) Dinosaur Jr is nothing unless it is with Murph and Barlow. Much like you could never imagine The Rolling Stones going on if someone decided to leave. If anyone of the three left, it would be hard to digest a Dinosaur Jr without one them. Anyway Lou gives the microphone to the fans, mostly praising the lads and saying thanks for coming.
End the encore, Mascis puts the guitar down, grabs his glass of black liquid and walks off very slowly. No wave no goodbye, we are done. After 30 plus years the band is still in fine form, both in the studio and live. Not many bands you can say that about. Please come back soon.
Source: Dinosaur Jr Facebook
Dinosaur Jr premiering "Tiny" from the new album "Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not" live on The Late Show with Jools Holland on May 24th, 2016.
Carbie Warbie's Dinosaur Jr photo gallery is being hosted on GigBill:
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