Dinosaur Jr. brought their alt-tinged punk stylings to Corona Theatre last Thursday; all the while proving themselves as the established rock veterans they are known as. Though the legendary trio have, these dinosaurs are anything but extinct.
The excitement inside the venue was near palpable. The eager ambience grew to a crux, as the mixed assembly of veteran fans and newcomers grew into a rowdy unit. One thing they had in common though was a mutual appreciation of Dinosaur Jr.
J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph formed Dinosaur Jr. in 1984. The band’s sound is a self-deprecating hybrid of punk and Mascis’ keen melodic instincts. This overall blueprint is supplemented by Mascis’ enthralling, intensely passionate guitar solos. Their influence formed the runway from which bands like Pavement and My Bloody Valentine took off.
To accentuate their extreme use of volume, the band employed a quiet–loud dynamic in many of its songs, a technique that was later popularized by the Pixies and Nirvana and alternative rock during the 1990s.
Similar to Mascis’s guitar work, Barlow’s bass tone was heavily distorted, and utilized swift chord changes and pulverizing lows, drawn heavily from his hardcore past.
After seven quality studio albums, Dinosaur Jr dropped Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, the band’s most recent effort.
Most people in attendance were there for one reason; nostalgia. The band’s stage set-up comprised of towering amp stacks with Murph’s drum kit front and center. It was a somewhat overwhelming structure for such a modest space.
Dinosaur Jr. blazed through a two-hour set, surveying 15 songs from their storied catalog. After opening with “The Lung” from their magnum opus You’re Living All Over Me, Mascis minced his words and let the music do the talking.
After several exhibitions of rock mastery, the band effortlessly jumped into their new material on the turn of a dime, performing “Love Is…” and “Goin Down” from Give A Glimpse. “The Wagon” and “Pieces” saw the band flexing their penchant for great melodies.
Keeping fans every bit as eager as when they first graced the stage, Dinosaur Jr played each track like it was second-nature. Next the band played “Tiny,” off of the new record, before transitioning into arguably their best hit, “Feel The Pain,” off of 1994’s Without A Sound.
The fan-favourite “Start Choppin’” from Where You Been was squeezed between two more new tracks from Give A Glimpse and they ended the set with the anthemic “Freak Scene” from the seminal 1988 landmark album Bug.
They returned to the stage shortly after for a two-song encore. The ending was fairly anticlimactic, if only because no matter how hard the crowd screamed and moshed, the enthusiasm never reached more than a fraction of the auditory assault just heard.
Nonetheless, the band re-emerged for a two-song encore featuring the two selections from 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me: A cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and “Sludgefeast”. Though the band has yet to reclaim its peak period in the 80s, their music is every bit as indelible as it’s ever been.
Review – Calvin Cashen
Photos – Marlon Kuhnreich