LIVE REPORTWHITE STAGE7/30 SAT
The Legend Continues
Dinosaur Jr are legends of the game, with decades of history under their collective belts and enough personal and interpersonal history to fill at least a few books. They brought this experience to Fuji Rock and put on what may have been one of the best shows of the festival.
Wasting no time after hitting the stage, J already starting their first song Thumb before Lou had even gotten his bass ready. Confidence abounds. The show really started halfway through the song when J, mid solo, decided things just weren’t loud enough and went over and turned up the amp volume himself. He didn’t ask the sound team to raise it, he did it. Baller move, and the extra oomph really helped.
Let’s talk about J Mascis’s guitar playing for a moment… he plays like he was born with one in his hand, he is effortless and casual while the instrument is careening and screaming. He has said he only really cared about being in a band so he can play guitar loud, and it shows.
The band really grabbed the crowd with their second song Wagon, another golden era great of theirs, and it really showed off that drummer Murph still has it, tight and crisp and precise.
At this point the band went onto a stretch of metrical from their newest album Sweep it Into Space, and honestly despite the fact that they don’t have the same nostalgia factor working in their favor didn’t change the fact that they were still bangers, and Dinosaur Jr hasn’t lost their edge in the slightest.
It was back to classics with You’re Living All Over Me’s Little Fury Things, sounding fresh as ever. If you closed your eyes (or squinted really, really hard) it wouldn’t be hard to believe it was 1987 all over again. Feel the Pain really got the crowd moving for the first time, from opening bars onward. It was good to see so many firsts pumping and so many heads banging, it has been far too long.
The hits kept rolling, peaking with their famous cover of the Cure’s Just Like Heaven, with guitar work from J arguably better than their original recording, and then the band’s signature anthem Freak Scene. Even though we are all getting older, the freak scene is still inside us.
Oddly they decided on Gargoyle, a track from their overlooked first album, as an encore starter, which is a mighty deep cut for a band with so many more recognizable songs, but they went with their guts and it kind of ruled! And finally Training Ground, a Lou sung barker. Things kind of fizzled out more than ending with a bang, but it just felt natural. It was as though they were done playing so they just stopped, like the stage was just their basement practice space. A good feeling.
Dinosaur Jr is one of those rare birds, a band that hasn’t fossilized into only playing only their old music but who has continued to evolve and grow while staying true to what has always been at their core. Even the return to the original lineup shows how pure they are artistically. And while they may fight like family, they perform like family too.
[Photo: 10 All photo]