Concert review: Dinosaur Jr. at the Bluebird, March 2009 

Friday at the Bluebird, Dinosaur Jr. put on a spellbinding show, hitting on all cylinders and captivating the crowd.

J Mascis once again proved that he is probably this generation's most unsung guitar hero. The guitar solo from Beyond's "Pick Me Up" was a slow-burner of fretwork fireworks that sparkled skyward just when the climax seems to have been reached. That single solo alone would have made the show worth the price of admission.

But the rest of the set proved to be just as exciting. Murph was a machine on the drum kit, laying down a forcefully precise track upon which Lou and J giddily chugged along. They did a set that was about as far from a typical "reunion band" set as you could get. Yeah, the classic Jay-Lou-Murph material - "Tarpit," "Sludgefest" and "Freak Scene" - was well represented. But a liberal sprinkling of post-Lou songs like "The Wagon," "Feel The Pain" and "What Else is New" was a treat to see the classic line-up perform. Lou's marvelously sloppy bass and clean backing vocals took already classic songs and made them that much better.

However, it was the tour (and live) debut of two new songs that proved to be the highlights of the set. "I Don't Wanna Go There" is in the vein of Beyond, while "Farm" (which, Lou explained, was named after the Bloomington restaurant, The Farm) was an absolute corker. Starting out with a bizarre bluegrass hoedown vibe, the song unraveled into a darkly psychedelic crunchfest that suggests that this next record is going to be a doozy.

Most bands jumping back onto the reunion/nostalgia bandwagon (wisely) stick to the hits, but Dinosaur Jr. continue to make lasting and inspiring music that stands tall and proud along with their oldest and most beloved material. It may be time to stop referring to Dinosaur Jr. as a reunited band, and start referring to them as one of today's best rock bands.


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Jeff Napier

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