Dinosaur Jr. shreds with sonic assault

Rock 'n' roll music is supposed to be loud, but Dinosaur Jr. takes it to another level in a show at
PHOTOGRAPHER:

By its very nature, rock ’n’ roll music is loud. But most rock music doesn’t even come close to the sheer slabs of volume with which Dinosaur Jr. pummels its audiences.

If you weren’t wearing earplugs at the band’s show Saturday night at Revolution Hall in Troy, your ears are probably still ringing. Heck, even if you had earplugs and used them, they might still be ringing. From the moment guitarist J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Emmet Patrick “Murph” Murphy took the stage, to the final blistering shards of feedback that closed out their encore, “Sludgefeast,” well after 11 p.m., the packed house found itself under assault with sheets of thick noise.

To the uninitiated, it must have been an odd sight, with Murph and Barlow slamming away through each slab of snarling, proto-metal, while Mascis nonchalantly tore through solo after solo, mumbling a few lyrics into the microphone here and there. It was a wonder that any vocals could be heard over the din of his guitar.

Back from the ashes

It’s been three years now since the group was resurrected from the ashes of its very acrimonious split in 1989, and thankfully, the group is showing no signs of slowing down or imploding once again. “Tarpit,” from the group’s classic “You’re Living All Over Me,” opened the show a little after 10 p.m. with a bang, bringing the crowd back to the ’80s underground scene (albeit with a lot more gray hair, courtesy of Mascis’ shaggy mane).

The band played five songs from its excellent 2007 album, “Beyond,” including Barlow’s bittersweet “Back to Your Heart.” Cries of “Lou” immediately following the song, a typical occurrence at Dinosaur shows, bore a strange resemblance to booing, although that certainly wasn’t the case. Later on in the set, Mascis showed off some of his finest guitar wankery on “What If I Knew,” knocking off improvised solos with immense ease.

The band still made room for classic Dinosaur numbers such as “Feel the Pain” and “Little Fury Things,” and even dusted off an old chestnut from the first record, the Barlow-sung “Gargoyle,” to close out the set proper. Although some fans might have found fault in what wasn’t played (“In a Jar” was nowhere to be heard, unfortunately), no complaints could be made about what was. Things culminated with two of Dinosaur’s best known indie hits, “The Wagon” and “Freak Scene.”

Local heroes

Troy band Wounded Knees took the stage at about 9 p.m., warming up an already large, steadily growing crowd with a brief seven-song set. The group’s instrumental lineup, which included two acoustic guitars run through heavy amounts of distortion and Jethro Tull-esque flute, provided an interesting counterpoint to the band’s meandering indie-folk.

Set opener “Mainstream Hate School,” off the group’s five-song EP “All Rise,” was easily the highlight here. Some nasty bouts of feedback from Suzanne Thorpe’s flute marred some of the middle numbers, but the group roared to life when Mascis joined them onstage for the instrumental “Dirty Exploding Sonic Dogfight.” His effortless noodling and slacker approach gave the audience a taste of bigger things to come.

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

Leave a Reply