December 9, 2012
Dinosaur Jr plus Guests
25 years ago, in a tense, dark part of Massachusetts, J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph, three sick young men put afternoon T.V. on the back burner and directed their dysfunctions into making an album. Mascis called it “You’re Living All Over Me” and a couple people really dug it. Now, in this foul year of our lord 2012 this album has music critics and fans whispering words like “landmark”, “brilliant” and “wicked fucking good”. And they’re all pretty spot on, it’s one of the best.
Dinosaur Jr. celebrated its 25 year anniversary of ear ringing by playing it from start to finish and bringing out the goddamn stops. It was to be “one for the books” as they say.
The opener was Kurt Vile and I had the fear that I would miss his set as I have the last 4 times he’s “performed”. Vals (NYU alumni, Pescetarian) and I scurried to Terminal 5 with a pace that must have been beautiful to bear witness to, graceful and with complete focus. After being “deep tissued” by the security thug and having a gingerbread biscotti confiscated from my jacket pocket, we were shoved inside where I heard that motherfucker Vile already playing! He is punctual. Par for the course as they say. Kurt Vile and the Violators were playing “Jesus Fever” and sounding like 4 battered husbands getting the lead out on a rare night away from the wives. The mix was a bit skewed with Kurt’s beautifully mumbled vocals left shivering out front while the band was warm and cozy “back at the lodge”. I tried to ignore this as I heard ‘em do “Freeway” for the first time ever. No bad mix in the world could sully that song. Anyway, Kurt Vile rules.
We wander around and find a perfect spot to take it all in by the stairs but sons a bitch wouldn’t you know it… a security prick is standing close by with a crew cut and worse yet, he’s chewing gum. “Fuck it,” I think, “You’ve done worse.” I grab Vals and we post up like mailboxes. The air is hot with excitement as a thousand indie rockers get wet with anticipation. I see a flute player setting up on stage. “Okay… keep it together, something’s happening here.”
J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph walk out kind of like they own the place? No talk, no banter, just “Thumb” with the flute to boot. Shut yr mouth, I’m levitating. The first “guest” Lee Ranaldo, walks up to the mic, hands in pockets and they do “Little Fury Things”, one of the best leadoff tracks in the history of leadoff tracks. I’m feeling kinda faint. The rest is a blur. I must have blacked out during “Kracked” as I woke up face down in a London Fog in the coatroom to the sounds of “In A Jar”. I put on a San Diego Padres Starter jacket (a pullover) and sat alone listening and smiling. “No time for love” I reasoned as I ran back to our spot in time for the opening chord blast of “Lose”. The band left the stage but Lou came back cradling a ukulele. “This is an awkward ending to an amazing album,” he said and then played the best version of “Poledo” I’ve ever heard.
At this point Vals was eyeing me and my new jacket nervously but hesitated asking questions she probably figured she was better off not knowing. Thank God Frank Black is on stage. What!? Yeah it’s Black Francis himself and it brings a grand roar from the crowd. They play “Almost Fare”, the best song off their great new record “I Bet On Sky” with Frank doing guitar/vocals and then rip into the Pixies song “Tame”. I don’t really have the ability to express what this was like to see/hear so I’m leaving it alone. Moving on…
Next guest star is none other than Johnny Marr of The Smiths doing “The Wagon” with Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) on lead vox followed up with “The Boy with a Thorn in His Side”. Once in a lifetime stuff. I mean, they played a Deep Wound song for christsakes! It was a special night and I could tell even the security guard realized this as he offered us a piece of Trident. We accepted of course and chewed happily as Kim Gordon screamed “Why don’t you like me?” for 10 minutes straight. Sometimes things are perfect, ya know?
As we walk dazed and amused out into the night I have the warm feeling that my life will always be different from here on in. I spit out my gum, take off the starter jacket and try to cool down. I’m still trying.
Jasen Ribadenera 12-8-12
Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin
For a download of this amazing concert go to www.nyctaper.com
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