Dinosaur Jr. – the prognosticators of prog-punk-pop – will be at the Blind Pig for a special two-night stand Sunday and Monday evening.
Following 2005’s triumphant reformation of the original late-’80s disbanded trio – guitarist/singer J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph – the band released the well-received record Beyond earlier this year. It’s the first “real” Dinosaur Jr. album in nearly twenty years.
Dinosaur Jr. formed in Amherst, Mass. in 1983 and is widely considered one of indie-rock’s most influential and loudest bands. Its distinctive sound – an aural assault of blaring, distorted guitar paired with claustrophobic vocals – could be described as the missing link between Black Sabbath and The Buzzcocks.
Before its enigmatic split, Dinosaur Jr. released three highly-acclaimed albums including 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me and 1988’s Bug. While incomparable to the sheer volume of its live performances, the albums reveal a deeper sort of understanding for the men behind the dinosaur.
Dinosaur Jr. is famous for always burying strong melodies beneath a thick topsoil of sound. No matter how dense the onslaught of guitar, percussive bass and drums is, the seeds of melody spring to the ear of people willing to listen carefully. As long as they can still hear anything at all, of course.
The nature of Dinosaur Jr.’s unique sound is as mysterious as the infamous tension between its original members. In 1989, following a tour in support of Bug, Mascis and Barlow were at serious odds. When Barlow was unceremoniously kicked out of the band, the bassist pursued his side-project Sebadoh while Mascis kept the band name and continued to tour and release records until 1997. As a result, many fans suspected there was a Barlow-sized hole that would never be filled.
But time heals.
Although it may have taken Dinosaur Jr. nearly two decades to resurrect, tour and release Beyond – a record as faithfully true to the group’s fossilized legend as earlier albums -who are we to complain? Most of us were in diapers when they started playing.
Concertgoers should expect nothing less than a performance that evokes nostalgia as much as nuclear warfare. The combination of Mascis’s melodic and edgy guitar riffing with the dynamic rhythm section of Barlow and Murph is not only akin to the sensation of a train engine running through the room, but a rare glimpse into the history of indie-rock.
As Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, an acknowledged fan of Dinosaur Jr., once described the group’s sound, it is “a wash of noise that [makes] your teeth hurt. But in a good way.”