Live Review: Dinosaur Jr. + Support: Wild Style Lion – Voxhall – 10.11.2016
Photo by Kim Song (HeartMatterArtworks)
I’ve never been a bigger Dinosaur Jr. fan than right now. With this year’s Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, possibly one of their best original line-up albums, I was just gagging to go see Dino play out these songs in person. It would be acceptable if they played some old cuts too. Predictably, the show was a pleasing mix of the new record performed beside choices from their earliest record (31 years old!). I really hate to say it though, but I could have written the review from home – knowing exactly what to expect from a Dinosaur concert in 2016, however, that’s the fucking point right – getting out, going to see your favourite group, and experiencing it live along with the minor discomforts that come with going to a rock show. This night was minus the uncomfortable part however.
Wild Style Lion were dragged along as support on this leg of the tour. Let’s just say it was the most uncomfortable part of the whole evening for me. Having to sit through their 40 minutes of out-dated industrial rock, really only served to clear the floor and allow the more hard-core Dinosaur Jr. fans to ease up to the barrier and queue for a front row spot for the main act. I hung back at the bar fidgeting and wondering why I got to Voxhall so early.
For a decent size crowd, the audience were quite varying in age. I saw more than a handful of dads bringing teenage kids with them, getting them up front and watching their faces light up as the lights went down and Dinosaur Jr. finally hit the stage. It made me excited – and appreciative that I get to go to so many great shows – I still feel excited with anticipation though every single time. I managed to find myself on the barrier rail for the first half of the gig, with no pushing or personal space issues involved.
The reason I say I could have “written this from home” is because Dinosaur Jr. are just so damn solid. You knew they wouldn’t say peep to the crowd, you know it would be loud as fuck, and you knew that it was going to be a well-balanced performance of new and old. It was.
Starting with “Bulbs of Passion” from their first record, it was fairly evident that while I was close enough to J. Mascis, and his literal wall of amps (3 marshall stacks and a fender twin for a monitor) that whomever was standing in the blast range from this artillery, we weren’t going to hear anything except the jet engine level attack of guitar. Still – it was quite humbling being that close to one of my heroes and watching his every move first hand and un-obscured. “Going Down” and “I Told Everyone” got aired, with Mascis surprisingly putting down his usual Fender jazzmasters, in favour of telecasters and a Rickenbacker 12-string. Sticking with the new record we finally got treated to a Lou Barlow lead “Love Is” – one of my favourites on the new record.
We could see there was an extra set of drums and a spare amp set up on stage – and for “The Wagon”, the band were joined by their drum and guitar techs to fill out the sound. They absolutely slayed “The Wagon” and kind of left me thinking, maybe the band could add an extra dimension like this to their sound – but alas that was the only number with this special augmentation – sort of confusing to see it stop though and making one wonder why they did that, but it worked well.
I had to retreat back a little further in the venue to pick up a little more than just Mascis’ amps – and when I did, I got the full sound picture. Mascis’ frail but unique voice was coming through crystal clear, Barlow – now sweating through his dress shirt from hopping around, was playing bass like a maniac, and Murph’s pounding fills were shaking the oil drum tables speckled through Voxhall. This was Dinosaur Jr.
Through the course of the set – I never felt bored or anxious to move anywhere. Last time I saw them I maybe thought guitar solos went on for too long – maybe they did – but Mascis seemed to hone his shredding better this time out. He still takes different paths with every solo, he still takes risks, and whether it be playing on a song that’s a few months old, or 31 years old, he still seems to throw you somewhere you didn’t quite expect. Nobody really sounds like Dinosaur Jr, and this may be why.
They dug into older favourites for a while – “Feel The Pain” and “Start Choppin’” before performing my favourite track from the new record – “Walk For Miles” – one of their heaviest tracks to date. I had a moment to look at the decibel meter behind the sound booth – we were experiencing a volume of 109 –db, which of course is insane. Glad I brought ear plugs for my own health.
“Freak Scene” and “Gargoyle” (a seriously deep but underappreciated cut from the 1st album) rounded out the normal playing time and into a little break before the inferred encore. Lou finally broke the wall and said “so what do you guys want to hear” – as someone shouted “Feel The Pain” – to Which Lou naturally replied “something we haven’t fucking played yet”! The band jumped into “Little Furry Thing” and my all-time favourite of theirs “Out There” – rounding off yet another solid show from Dinosaur Jr. in Aarhus.
Even though the show was predictable and without any interaction with the audience – like, that’s what you fucking need. It’s an experience seeing Dinosaur Jr. Whether it’s to relive your teen days or you’re currently a teenager just getting into good music – I don’t think anyone left dissatisfied. If you did, you can get plenty of entertainment out of Dinosaur Jr.’s (and my) new commander in chief, Donald Trump. I just hope the boys voted before they visited us!
Thanks as always to the awesome staff at Voxhall for a great night. I left smiling and I was not alone.
Dinosaur Jr. are just so damn solid. You knew they wouldn’t say peep to the crowd, you know it would be loud as fuck, and you knew that it was going to be a well-balanced performance of new and old. It was. Unfortunately, supporting act, Wild Style Lion, made me wonder why I got to Voxhall so early. Overall, it was a great night, though. (3.5/6)