Dinosaur Jr surprised NYC with a free, same day show at House of Vans in Greenpoint. Debuting some new material as well as their standard jams, it was a classic night for some diehard fans.
Power trio Screaming Females started things off heavy with their usual all thrills and no frills rock and roll. Thrashing away, Marissa lead her band with high flying guitar solos and a wicked howl. The band operates on precise rhythms and a no bullshit attitude all backed by some of the most ferocious guitar playing in modern rock. It's so impressive to see this band somehow get better and better each year.
After things got warmed up, the legends themselves took to the stage for a short and concise set. The night got crazy pretty fast as the band opened with "The Lung" and J Mascis' diabolical guitar shredding created an insane pit that would not let up for the remainder of their show. Newer tracks helped keep a sustainable pace that kept things from getting too wild too fast, but "Feel the Pain" into "Start Choppin'" was a monstrous one-two punch that saw bodies flying over the crowd as all hell broke loose. For two songs written post-Barlow, they still seem to garner some of the biggest reactions every time they get played. Slightly restrained by a purple neck brace, J was a tad more subdued than his usual self, no guitars lifted over his head this time, and the vocals seems a bit strained off the bat. Lou Barlow made up for all of this as he danced and head banged across the stage with his energy turned all the way up to 11. These days, it seems a little strange to call these guys a reunion act as the band is set to release their fourth record since regrouping, making it one more release than their original stretch in the late 80s and early 90s. Still, after all they've been through, the magic is still alive and well and their balance and composure seems to be as tight as ever. It often makes me wonder how a band like the Pixies can't pull off something of this stature when Dinosaur Jr makes it look so damn easy. Watching these three guys on stage is true joy and their effortless power reigns supreme over all those in attendance. J Mascis and his forever chill tone compliment the dynamics of Lou and Murph in all the right ways and their ability to combine classic rock solos with punk rock ambition will never grow tired. As the band concluded with "Freak Scene", it seemed like a fitting, albeit abrupt, end to the evening as the crowd seemed more fired up than before and really let everything run wild, a true sight and scene in and of itself.