Dinosaur Jr – The Studio January 23, 2017

Thirty years ago, Dinosaur Jr wrote the manual on fuzzy impressionistic downer rock. While it’s been subtlety rewritten over the course of 11 studio albums, the most important aspect of a Dinosaur Jr record has been the mood that seems to permeate all of them. The longevity of Dinosaur Jr can be just as much accredited to their shaggy haired angst that has spoken to generations of disaffected youths as their curious juxtaposition of distortion and feedback against jangly riffs and drawling vocals.
Given their influence, it was somewhat surprising to see that they were performing at The Studio last night, which was packed to the rafters, almost to the point of discomfort. The crowd was upbeat, and it seemed that every person there had started a band because of Dinosaur Jr. Whether they were performing in the early 90s or dressed in 90s clothing under the guise of vintage, the air was electric with fans swapping tales and arguing over best-album titles.

The show itself was everything you would expect from Dinosaur Jr. Loud and explosive, it cherry picked the best tracks from their back catalogue and their latest record, 2016’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not.

As a vocalist, J Mascis remains as downtrodden and weary as ever. In a live context his voice groans and creaks as he parses decades of romantic misunderstandings, while he manages to intertwine the most acrimonious and anxious chords to create his idiosyncratic melancholic riffs.

Bassist Lou Barlow is the perfect foil to Mascis’s grungy feedback solos. He attacks the bass like an electric guitar, playing chords and strumming, which allows for a unique sound and an entertaining stage presence. He managed to be complimentary without being competitive and allowed for the music to get into a beautiful mess.

Highlights included Bulbs Of Passion, the sublimely distorted I Walk For Miles and Start Choppin’ but the biggest response from the crowd was Feel The Pain, who all stood perfectly still, transfixed by the moment.

When you consider the music of Dinosaur Jr, it would seem that true happiness is their only real danger. Last night, they gave it to their fans instead.

Kate Powell

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Veronica McLaughlin:

Dinosaur Jr Set list:

  1. Bulbs Of Passion
  2. Thumb
  3. Goin’ Down
  4. I Told Everyone
  5. Love Is…
  6. Watch The Corners
  7. Pieces
  8. Tiny
  9. Feel The Pain
  10. Little Furry Things
  11. Knocked Around
  12. Start Choppin’
  13. I Walk FDor Miles
  14. Freak Scene
  15. Gargoyle
  16. Just Like Heaven
  17. Sludgefest