Gig Review

Dinosaur Jr
Bristol, Fiddlers Club

29th January 2013

Dinosaur Jr

Tonight's legendary events took place in Bristol's Fiddlers Club, which was absolutely packed to capacity. This being my first time at the Fiddlers Club it took me a little time to find the place and I missed the opening act but luckily I got their before the heroic 1970's band that massively influenced the grunge movement that got me into music took to the stage.

The opening track "See It on Your Side" from the 2012 album "I Bet on Sky" kicked off the set with a howl. J Mascis grain heavy guitar sound that gave the band its distinctive raw sound was on top form. Whilst the vocals were a bit strained the sound of the band was incredible, and having seen over a hundred bands in the last year (probably a lot more in fact), when I say incredible I really mean it. How any one person can get that sound out of a guitar and look so calm and relaxed while doing so is truly baffling. Dinosaur Jr performing in a venue of 500 people most of whom have loved them for decades (only one and a bit in my case, but hey I wasn't born until after their third album) could have played anything and people would still consider seeing them in such an intimate scene a dream come true (especially considering their 8 year break up). That being said it can make people hypercritical, longing for a song and being let down after finally seeing them live, though no one was going home disappointed tonight. With 10 albums they managed to fit in a track or two from nearly all of them, a number from "I Bet on Sky" and few surprises. Whilst there were a few tracks missing ("Pick Me Up" from the first album since reforming "Beyond", with its two minuet long soloesk guitar riff among my list) they would have to play a 5 set to fit in all the ones you want to hear, much like Foo Fighters and Blink-182 you accept there will be some tracks you won't hear but if they play a fair few including most of the sing a long's your more than happy. And they did.

As they powered through "Budge", "The Wagon", "Don't Pretend You Didn't Know", "Watch the Corners", "Crumble", "Rude" "Out There" and "Feel the Pain" with J's guitar howling away the memorable lines new and old. Lou Barlow's bass reinforcing the melody wrapped in the heavily distorted guitar, as well throwing in some vocals from time to time. Barlow was the main entertainment other than the music, throwing in a few humorous comments about them being an example of what you can achieve even if you didn't to college (university for the English) before muttering about being broke and regretting his decision, attempting a southern English accent and during the only real break to the set stating it was because "our drummers urinating, that's what happens when you get old". The whole show reminded me of when I was 16 going to see a Led Zeppelin cover band and getting to drink a beer even though I couldn't get served. The style and skill of the music is very much lost today shamefully, and this blast from the past was an incredible experience, reminding me of why I fell in love with music in the first place. I had to constantly pull myself back from the brink of nostalgia before I day dreamed away the entire gig.

Barlow took lead vocals for the next track "Training Ground", a cover of hardcore band Deep Wound, the first group formed by J and Barlow. The fast passed track got a few people jumping around at the front but this gig was move that of a long time love and appreciation with most people standing in awe, singing along and finding enough space to clap and cheer at the end.

As the set was nearing the end the sing a longs started to come in full flow with, "In a Jar", "Start Chopping" and a line for line rendition by the crowd during "Freak Scene" the opening track from the 1888 album "Bug". "Forget the Swan" was the final track before the cheers for more kicked in. After returning to the stage Dinosaur Jr kicked the crowd into overdrive with their famous and one of the best covers of all time, their version of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven". The whammy bar took a little beating during the first few bars, setting this apart from the CD version. With the whole room singing along and praying this wouldn't be the last track of the night. But there was one final hora with Sludgefeast tying off the set.

After having our ears pummelled for a good hour or two, and seeing one of the most talented guitarists of an era and a genre playing only a few meters away no one could ask for any more. Though almost everyone stood still for a few minutes for fear of missing anything. J's voice may have become more strained but they were astounding. Flawless. Chugging a way in a casual manner not feeling the need to jump around or into the crowd yet still not boring to watch, the sign of a band that are well routed in the hearts of their fans. I won't be forgetting this gig.

Dinosaur Jr 5/5

Review By Marc Rich

 Dinosaur Jr

J Mascis
Lou Barlow

 Band Related Links
Dinosaur Jr Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?