Dinosaur Jr. 02/23/10
The Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos/Videos by Justin/concertconfessions.com
I must be honest with everyone for a moment. I own one compact disc by the band Dinosaur Jr. It has their big hit “Feel the Pain” on it and I picked it up at a garage sale a few years back. I don’t even know the name of it, nor most of the song titles. I’ve always enjoyed the band and their loud, fuzzy alt-rock jams (they were rated 4 starts on my Yahoo Launchcast way back when). However after sharing some coke, rocking out and having my eardrums blown out by the three-piece band for free this past Tuesday night, Dinosaur Jr. may become my latest full-blown obsession.
I had a few reasons for checking out the east coast band’s one-off show at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. First of all, it was free, thanks to the fine folks at T-Mobile. The show was to promote the companies MOG device, which they failed to do. I have no idea what it is besides a way to see a great band for free. The main reason I ended up going was this site and a confession of the band’s recent Brooklyn gig, shared by Jay Porks. His review really made me realize that perhaps I was missing out on some loud ass rock and roll. So after a long wait along the dirty sidewalks of Doheney Ave, I made my way into the venue and parked myself right in front of three Marshall 100 stacks, belonging to one J Mascis.
The band took the stage just after 9pm, opening with the song ‘Thumb”. Immediately, I knew I was in for a great night, as my bones vibrated within my flesh from the sheer volume of the power trio (Featuring the original lineup of J Mascis on Guitar/vocals, Lou Barlow on Bass and Murph on drums). The group played classics from their on-again-off-again-on-again career, but also showcased songs from their latest record – Farm. One of the songs from that release which really stood out to me was called “Pieces”. With rich melodies and destructive distortion, it seemed to be as well received as the older numbers.
The highlight of the night (besides “Feel the Pain”; I am after all that guy and I am not afraid to admit it) was simply standing eight feet from J Mascis while he played. What an amazing and highly underrated talent he is. Great chord progressions, lighting fast solos, guitars I can only dream of owning and perhaps the biggest pedal board I have ever seen. The man is a mad genius and the way he leads the band through densely distorted sonic jams is nothing short of mind (and ear) blowing. Equally impressive on the other side of the stage was bassist Lou Barlow. He made his bass guitar his bitch; owning it and forcing it to do things that would cause most mild-mannered instruments to blush with embarrassment. The way he plucked huge chords, beat upon the strings and managed to keep in time with both Mascis and drummer Murph was incredible. Perhaps next time I see them, I will have to stand on his side of the stage.
After rocking a main set that lasted about 70 minutes and featured songs like “Over It” and “Crumble,” the band played a brief two-song encore for the largely male, beanie and flannel wearing crowd. It was during the encore that it really hit me: the 1990’s are back. From the tiny pit that broke out during the encore with friendly smiling faces pogoing around peacefully to the aforementioned fashion, I managed to feel both nostalgic and yet young again. Perhaps it was the free show; perhaps it was the comradery that comes with waiting in line for a few hours with your new best (and hopefully not single serving) friends. Whatever it was, the feeling was good vibes all around. In fact, walking out of the Troubadour back to my car, I ran into some kids who made me feel really good. Having been handed a bottle of coke by J Mascis as he left the stage, the young men were very excited to give me a sip of the carbonated beverage. “Drink in the God-like genius that is J – this beverage will make you a Godzilla-esque Guitar monster” one kid screamed as he handed the 20 oz. bottle my way. As someone who has been clean of High Fructose Corn Syrup for months now, I thought what the heck; I had already fallen back into the 1990’s, why not fall off “The Wagon” as well?