Full disclosure: I’m one of those people who, if told Dinosaur Jr. is playing somewhere, will immediately run to the show. I don’t even wait for the person to tell me where, I just leave and trust that I’ll find it.
Friday night, I found them at a small, off-the-beaten-path drinking hole called Bar 96 for a Filter showcase. The place was small, barely able to contain J. Mascis’ flowing white hair, let alone the hordes of drunk dudes looking to mosh the night away.
And oh, how they moshed. One of the best things about Dinosaur Jr. is that they can get gloriously loud, and a tiny stage outside a bar makes their big-and-noisy guitars bigger and noisier.
No complaints here. Somehow, the band that more-or-less began in 1982 (in the form of Deep Wound) never sound not-good. They’re not one of those reunion bands that rely on the past (*cough* The Cult *cough*). Since they got back together in 2005 (when Mascis and Lou Barlow were finally able to settle their differences), they’ve released two albums that rival their late-’80s/early-’90s classics, and their live shows still make most other bands sound like idiots.
Or maybe I’m the idiot. “I don’t know what the f— you’re doing here,” Barlow joked to the crowd during the show. “Jack White is playing solo right now. A living saint is playing right now! The savior of American music is out there, and you’re here watching some old hardcore hippies play?”
We were, and their stellar set of unsinkable ships like “Feel the Pain” and “Freak Scene” did little to make anyone regret their decision.
But Barlow has trouble letting things go. “Do you hate America?” he continued. “Somebody in this town is playing the blues right now; why are you here?”
“We’re going to play a Cure song right now,” he added. “We love the Cure more than we love the blues. F— Dinosaur Jr.!”
As expected, their famous, long-running rendition of “Just Like Heaven” whipped the crowd into a frenzy — it’s always an amazing thing to see mosh-pit bros crowdsurf to the Cure. Then, as an added treat, the band capped the night with the aptly titled oldie-but-greatie “Sludgefeast.” Yep, all other bands are idiots.