There’s a moment deep into the set where Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow dipped down to retrieve something that had been thrown on stage. “Whose glasses are these?” asked Barlow somewhat incredulously, as the group extended their between-song tuning and banter to help match the pair of ejected spectacles to their rightful owner. Sure, one could muse that maybe in Dinosaur Jr.’s heyday, there was less of a focus on putting things back together, but for a group for whom fracturing is so integral to their narrative, it’s nice to see everything put back in it’s right place with the legendary trio a more tight-knit and fun-to-watch band than ever (arguably).
Touring behind their newest release, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, Dinosaur Jr. demonstrated that 10 years (!!!) into their unexpected reunion, there’s little sign that the trio of Lou Barlow, J. Mascis and Emmett “Murph” Murphy have lost any bit of the magic that their live performances routinely conjure. Though Mascis is hardly one to sustain a long conversation, nor the kind of between song banter that peppers most of their peers’ sets, there’s something timeless in the way Dinosaur Jr.’s music reaches out and connects with the audience. If it weren’t so on the nose, I’d say there was something primal about their music.
The band peeled through perennial favorites, like You’re Living All Over Me‘s “Little Fury Things” and “The Lung,” as well as some of the post-reunion hits like “Crumble” and “Watch The Corners.” I totally lost it when they played “Start Choppin'” and “Out There” from Where You Been, my favorite Dinosaur Jr. album. Also, I dare you to find a better live sing-along than the band and crowd provided during the penultimate main set performance of “Freak Scene.”
The crowd proved rowdy enough to warrant an encore, which the band obliged with a one-two punch of covers: their now seminal version of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” as well as The Stooges “T.V. Eye.” Between Barlow’s on-stage exuberance, Murph’s thunderous and precise drumming and Mascis’ guitar wizardry, Dinosaur Jr. are always a good time and their show at the Fonda was proof enough that as long as they want to keep it together, there’ll always be an audience there to hear what they’ve got to play. From “Feel The Pain” to the newest jams, it pleases me that Dinosaur Jr. are still an essential and thriving live act that you shouldn’t miss the next time they’re in your city or region.
Check out Dinosaur Jr.’s website for more info on Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not and much more!
Words and photos by Lee Bedrouni