Dinosaur Jr + Special Guests – 12/01/2012
Terminal 5 – New York City
Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks
In two weeks, Dinosaur Jr‘s second studio record “You’re Living All Over Me” will turn 25 years old-why wait til then to start the celebration? Tonight, in the 81st Edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series we return to Terminal 5 in New York City (610 West 56th Street) for what is billed as “Dinosaur Jr’s 25th anniversary of “You’re Living All Over Me” with Very Special Friends Sitting In and Special Guest Kurt Vile” Well, it’s well known that if the ticket says Dinosaur Jr and I can get there via Bus, Train and/or Boat-chances are I’m getting myself in the building. Kurt Vile and The Violators supporting, if nothing else, peaks my interest for an opening band. And Vile’s a bitchin’ guitar player so sitting in should be fun as well. But friends? Who? Weeks after I bought tickets a few names sprinkled out. Johnny Marr will be here. Dale Crover will be here. Al Cisneros will be here. Frank Black will be here and Kim Gordon will be here. If that’s not enough, there’s going to be two Dinosaur Jr sets, first playing the record and the second being a collection of hits ranging the band’s whole catalog. There’s still the extreme likely possibility that more guests will appear tonight on stage. Anything can happen. Let’s hope “anything” means “everything that you can think of in the world” tonight.
In my first trip into Manhattan in a post- Sandy world, I found myself outside on line to get into Terminal 5 at 6:30 with doors set to open at 7. Had to take a cab from the ferry because the (1) train line is totally fucked. Got dropped off a two blocks up, I need the workout anyway . Felt like forever standing out there on line-not because it was cold. It was my anxiety, my prayers to several gods to be able to obtain my awesome third floor spot. I was about 100 deep in the line and another 100 people (at least) were behind me by the time doors opened. We got in and I ran up two flights of stairs to find exactly what I was looking: an empty third floor with plenty of chairs and ottomans to keep me comfortable until showtime. After I grabbed myself a Pepsi, it was already 7:30.
At 8 o clock Kurt Vile and the Violators hit the stage. They impressed everyone by the end of their set. Each songs having a different feel, kept thanking us for being a “beautiful audience”. They seem like a band that should have been around when bands like Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth were getting big in the late 80’s. They have that psychedelic thing going, but the sweet melodies are what, well, keep making me want to compare them to Dinosaur Jr. Was that an 18 string acoustic I saw Kurt Vile bust out on a song called “Freeway” or am I wrong? He changed guitars every single song. I like guitars, so this is a plus in my book. And we share a haircut. His voice is very punky, the tone is perfect for this kind of show. You know-effects pedals everywhere and extended noise jams. I recorded their song “Monkey”. Awesome job by them. It was 8:40 when they went off.
Truth be told, I haven’t listened to “You’re Living All Over Me” front to back in a few years. So I had to go back this past week leading up to the show and re-brush myself up on the masterpiece that is that album. After kicking off the night with “Thumb”(with a chick on stage playing the flute.. or a clarinet) , our first guest of the evening hit the stage next and was our first surprise guest of the evening: Lee Ranaldo(of Sonic Youth fame).
He provided some vocals on the record’s first track, “Little Fury Things”. So here we are, for the next 46 or so minutes watching Dinosaur Jr just kill it. I mean it’s not like I haven’t seen this band kill it before, this is my forth time. But they’re getting better. J Mascis takes a cerebral attack towards his playing, making his guitar his total bitch. This is beyond distortion, this is beautiful madness at it’s finest. At one point his guitar sounded like a flock of doves-I’m serious. And I’m up here, sitting on a chair, (Low to the ground like an ottoman, yet it has a back like a chair. Very comfortable) 3rd floor Terminal 5- not taping. I’m taking this whole album in right now strictly like a normal fan, we do have two sets after all. I’m under an influence alright-the heavy drug known as awesome music. I’m checking out the crowd, they’re going nuts, slamming into each other and crowd surfing like crazy. I mean, it’s a very tiny part of me, but part of me wanted to be down there smashing myself into strangers. But the sea of people doesn’t end as I keep turning my head-this place is packed to the gills (and my “private” section has turned into a full house) One note, I know here in NYC we have some less than desirable fans in the crowd who throw stuff on stage. Usually empty beer cups- I know I’ve been hit with several beers in the pit at past shows. But tonight, it was hoodies exclusively being thrown. I hate to break the news to these people that although it’s hot in the pit it’s still cold outside. Keep glancing over to the rhythm section to see Murph is the only person in shorts, beating the kit with everything he had on ever song he drummed on. I could tell, he worked up quite a sweat. And Lou. Every time I looked in that direction his head was down, bass hanging real low and he was just creating earthquakes over there with his heavy bass licks.
At 10:01 Murph and J dart off stage and the lights dim, revealing Lou Barlow alone, holding a Ukelele ready to play “Poledo” solo, adding that this is an “awkward end to an amazing record” before cranking out the oddity but goody.
This was advertised as two sets, and the bill fit the length of what you’d get out of two sets. But props to the band for not making us wait like 15 minutes in between. Frank Black (or is it Black Francis these days? I get them mixed up) former Pixies frontman was on stage by 10:06. He’s here to “help out on one of the songs off the new record “I Bet on Sky” according to J. After they played the tune, Mr Black hands the gigantic hand drawn lyric sheet he had in front of him to a lucky member of the crowd, re-tunes his guitar and next thing you know you’re hearing the lyric “hips like Cinderella” and we’re jumping into “Tame”.
Dinosaur Jr and Frank Black doing “Tame”. Are you freaking serious?!?! Pass me a tissue, I just wet myself. it was so perfect, so right for this evening. So many joyous screams.
A great old tracked popped up “Alone”, a great new track from the new record popped up, “Watch The Corners” and here comes Johnny Marr at around 1045. Besides that crappy band with Morrissey, I loved Johnny Marr’s stuff with Modest Mouse and he is a highly regarded guitar player. He’s actually releasing his debut solo record later this year. He lended a hand on “The Wagon”. Then they brought out a lyric sheet on a stand for J as they got into a song I didn’t know.
Thankfully we live in the 21st century and Twitter was buzzing within seconds chiming in with the song title: “The Boy with The Thorn in his Side“, a Smiths cover. There was another guest vocalist up there(thanks to fellow fans comments, it was pointed out to me that it was Kevin Drew from Broken Social Scene) .At least it wasn’t Morrissey. Dale Crover(of the Melvins) was out there drumming on the Smiths cover with them. Al Cisneros (known for his work in Sleep and OM) was on and off stage throughout the evening as well as Kurt Vile. Don Fleming(used to be in a band called Gumball) came on stage to cover a song by the band Iron Cross called “Crucified For Your Sins”. Your a typical hard rocking DC punk rock anthem to perk up the pit as some start to sober up. It was intense.
And at 11:09 Kim Gordon hops on stage. The sexist 59 year old chick I’ve ever seen, since her recent divorce with Thurston Moore (in turn, putting all things Sonic Youth on indefinite hiatus) Kim spends these days playing in an experimental noise rock duo with Bill Nace called Body/Head. Surprised Kim’s lungs didn’t come flying out of her chest during “Don’t”.
That one that requires screaming multiplied by a million. I hated when the band played this song last year(Review of that show here) because they let some fan sing the vocal and he kept slamming the microphone down and had an annoying scream. Kim was awesome, I just wish there was some better lighting in there for me to grab a better picture of her. Well, the lighting was good, but the shine from the drum set was messing with my camera. Everybody ducked off stage at 11:19
They came back out not long after. You know, there was one kid I saw outside wearing a Replacements tee shirt. At the time I saw it I said to myself “Sweet..the Replacements”. That must’ve been my spider senses tingling, because out for the encore on bass is none other than Tommy Stinson from the Replacements! Tommy also plays in the fake Guns N’ Roses band that Axl Rose tours with these days. And there’s my buddy John Petkovic (see Mike Watt & Friends 05/02/12) on vocals-and they’re playing The Stooges! “TV Eye”. The pit was chaos once again.
I had read reviews claiming Fred Arminsen was on stage at one point and I had to look back at my pictures a day later and notice that he is in fact drumming on “TV Eye”. I was having such a good time I missed the Portlandia star. “Start Choppin” followed and then our night ended with “Freak Scene”. The house music came on slightly after 11:30.
Dinosaur Jr never disappoints, but that my friends was something for the ages. I’ve placed a picture of the set list below. Enjoy the videos as they upload! Late.