Eight years removed from their 2005 reunion, sick cure the shock of Dinosaur Jr.’s original lineup reconvening as a full-time rock band has seemingly worn off. Whatever internal turmoil drove guitarist J Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow apart at the end of the 80s is long since old news. Alongside stoic drummer Murph, viagra buy the two have now amicably shared stages and delivered rock-solid records for twice as long as their original run lasted before Barlow was fired and Dino more or less became a Mascis solo endeavor. Though they’re rightfully recognized as one of the most important and influential noise rock bands of all time, illness it’s become easy to take Dinosaur Jr. for granted in 2013. Their positively face-melting live shows are proof-positive that to do so is a mistake.
On the heels of an oddball booking supporting MGMT at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Friday the 13th, Dino spent the remainder of the frozen December weekend at The Sinclair for a pair of sold-out shows. Reports indicate that Saturday was cut slightly short due to the snow, but Sunday’s set was a generous 90-minute, 17-song performance that showcased the band in fine form. The setlist was career-spanning in the most literal sense, touching on everything from Mascis and Barlow’s pre-Dino hardcore band Deep Wound to 2012’s comparatively placid .
Ever true to their volume-loving reputation, even the band’s less aggressive material was still skull-splittingly loud. Spending even half the duration of one set in front of Mascis’ wall of Marshall stacks begs the question of how he isn’t deaf after doing it nightly for so long. But years of eardrum abuse have honed Dinosaur Jr.’s particular brand of loudness into something that doesn’t just sound big, but sounds good. Barlow’s pummeling low-end bass lines balance the piercing howl of Mascis’ guitar, with Murph’s steady rhythms underpinning the two. They sculpt a sound that avoids becoming a wall of indiscernible noise even when it’s cranked past 11. It’s undeniably battering, but offers a surprising level of depth and clarity while it’s kicking you in the teeth.
Violence extended beyond the sound and into the crowd as the show progressed, starting with a frenzied mosh pit during Barlow’s Sky standout “Rude” (and reaching a fitting end, for me at least, when a crowd surfer crushed my hand against the stage during “Feel the Pain”). The crowd’s enthusiasm was matched by Barlow’s perpetually animated stage presence, and contrasted by Mascis’ typical aloofness. He remains as fascinating and enigmatic a performer as ever, firing off histrionic solos of head-spinning complexity with the same nonchalance most people might exhibit in assembling a sandwich. He said little to the crowd beyond an occasional “thanks,” and even the oft-wordy Barlow kept the talk to a minimum. In contrast to last month’s freewheeling Sinclair show with Barlow’s other main gig, Sebadoh, the vibe here was all-business. The approach felt a bit distant, but such is the nature of a Mascis-helmed performance. And with a set that packed in so many career highlights (“Freak Scene,” “Little Fury Things,” “Just Like Heaven,” etc.), it was tough to complain.
Though it’s often easy for unknown openers to be consumed by the shadow of the headliner with a show like this, Sunday’s supporting set from NYC’s Call of the Wild was worthy of note. The power trio’s caffeinated rock ‘n’ roll was a youthful blast of frantic drumming and unhinged shredding that rounded out the evening exceptionally well.
With no dates scheduled for 2014, this weekend of shows reads as something of a victory lap for Dinosaur Jr.’s successful year of touring behind I Bet On Sky; a pair of sort-of-hometown small venue shows to cap things off. Barlow made an offhand remark to the effect of “this is our last show ever” at one point during their set, and while we should all assume and hope that he was joking, bands have picked far worse circumstances to go out on.