Dinosaur Jnr – Live Review


My first experience of Dinosaur Jr live was Reading 98, it was being touted as their last tour, where they were on the same bill as The Lemonheads. Their set was a roaring 45 minutes of fuzzy guitar solos, feedback and deliciously muffled vocals, we barely saw J Mascis from behind his long hair, and it’s still hands down one of my favourite shows ever.

Fast forward a few years and I caught the first of their reunion shows at Koko, where they played no less than 10 encores, my hands hurt from clapping so much and truth be told I was a little less in love. However, hearing they were on tour again I couldn’t resist the chance to hear them. The 90’s Americana vibe at Brooklyn Bowl was the perfect venue for the nostalgia seeking Dinosaur fan in me- squint and I could have been on the set of Empire Records. Cue a step change with supporting act Le Volume Courbe calling to mind Blonde Redhead with haunting vocals and their abstract sound. This may have been a cunning ploy on the part of the main act because, by contrast, when J Mascis and co finally took to the stage they hit it hard, kicking off with a fast and furious rendition of 'Bulbs of Passion', a blistering opening, which set the crowd off big time.

Dinosaur Jnr live brooklyn bowl

Next up a visit to “You’re living all over me“ via “In a Jar", before we’re treated to the more melodic “Feel the Pain”. Famous for their nonchalant attitude towards the crowd – this is a band who once played a tape loop of the words “Thank You” between songs – there’s not a lot of chat but really that’s not what you should be coming to see them for. Lou Barlow and his hair have the energy of 10 younger men and the trio are as tight now as they were at that show in 98 if not more so. There’s no apology for a largely nostalgic set, they’re attuned to the crowd and pack in frenetic renditions of 'Little Fury Things', 'Budge' and 'Freak Scene' to a rapturous audience. J’s solos are still as hypnotising as always and what had seemed a bit indulgent at the KOKO show now has me hooked. The crowning glory is the encore (just one this time) where they bust out their cover of the Cure’s “Just like Heaven” a fitting end to an epic show and firmly restoring them to one of my favourite live bands.

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