November 26, 2016

Dinosaur Jr played House of Blues (Boston)

Dinosaur Jr have been on a massive tour in support of this year's really good new album Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. They stopped by Boston's House of Blues for a post-Thanksgiving hometown show with fellow Mass-rockers Buffalo Tom.

At this point, I've seen Dinosaur Jr more than any other band (this show was number 9), but I still jump at every chance I get to see J and friends shred. This particular show felt a little more special as I was able to convince my dad to join me on the trek. My dad did me right by raising me on the classics: The Beatles, the Stones, Zeppelin, and Floyd, but he also was cool enough to be into the Smiths, Pixies, Nirvana, and Green Day. Dinosaur never made it on his radar, but that wasn't a blocker for getting him out of the house.

Locals Buffalo Tom opened the set (he actually knew more of their tracks) and helped get the vibes in order for Dinosaur's mammoth set. Buffalo Tom's classic indie-rock was powerful and a great homage to the alt-rock era they and Dinosaur helped shape in the early 90s. Their take on power-pop made for stellar jams and some really heavy grooves that filled the space. They interpolated Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" and really let it rock and made it seem like one of their own. They even brought out J Mascis (who produced some of their early material) to join them on the Galaxie 500 stand-out "Tugboat Captain". A song they claimed as a love song and not a political one, despite the ever-so appropriate line "I don't wanna vote for your President" and one my dad compared to the fuzzy guitar sound of Quilt! Shortly after, Dinosaur took to the stage for their usual blast of fury. Just like always, the trio was in pristine form and showed no signs of age as they made their way through a great deal of their catalogue to an ever responsive crowd. In tough times where many gathered with families and either avoided the conversation of our President-elect or dove straight into the battle, I felt relieved and thankful that my dad didn't blink an eye at the idea of seeing these legends rock with a gale force wind. He was also glad I suggested he bring ear plugs. The band wasted no time talking to the crowd and spent the majority of the night wailing away on mind-blowing guitar solos backed by an impeccable rhythm section. Even on-stage, it's hard to tell how well these guys really get along these days as J stand firmly in place away from Lou and Murph, who are locked in tight in their huddle and really play well off each other. They make for a great punk rock version of the Crazy Horse huddle. Still, their new tracks "Goin' Down" and "Tiny" feel just as in-line with the classics and still caught a heavy reaction from the crowd. Of course, they didn't shy away from the hits and played their biggest ones from the '90s, "Feel the Pain" (the one song my dad actually did know), "Start Choppin'", and a rendition of "The Wagon" with an electric sitar player and another drummer. Their original line-up hits of "The Lung", "Little Fury Things", and the always epic "Freak Scene" were unquestionably huge highlights as well and got the crowd off their feet. I'll never get tired of seeing J Mascis rip through heavy solos and sharing that with my dad was a really great experience. As two people who love Neil Young, his influence on the band is just as important as their hardcore fondness of Black Flag, so talking about the metallic guitar sounds and metal-esque riffs that were part of the epic breakdown of "Gargoyle" was really special. Music can be such a fuel to many relationships and spark memories for significant times in life. The highs and lows of major events, the markings of turning points when things change, or just a singular moment that can be recalled with a brief note of sound. I realize more and more how much a piece of music can capture a moment in time and I'm happy to know that this will always be one to remember fondly.

Set List:

01 "The Lung"
02 "Get Me"
03 "Goin' Down"
04 "I Told Everyone"
05 "Love Is..."
06 "The Wagon"
07 "Watch the Corners"
08 "Tiny"
09 "Feel the Pain"
10 "Little Fury Things"
11 "Knocked Around"
12 "Start Choppin'"
13 "I Walk for Miles"
14 "Freak Scene"
15 "Gargoyle"
16 "Training Ground" (Deep Wound cover)
17 "Just Like Heaven" (The Cure cover)
18 "Mountain Man"

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