Live in Los Angeles:
Friday, September 23, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
Words by Dan Sinclair
Photographs by Levi Walton
(courtesy of Jagjaguwar)
September 23, 2016-- Dinosaur Jr. was formed back in 1984 and 22 years later your teary-eyed writer still had never seen Joseph Donald Mascis, Jr., Louis Knox Barlow and Emmett Jefferson Murphy III play together live. But on this very special night, nestled softly in-between MacArthur Park and Downtown LA's Financial District at the Teragram Ballroom, all that finally changed. Sadly, it was also the first time BeerMoviesMusic covered a show without a photographer. My most sincere apologizes in advance for the lack of actual concert shots. I did, however, use the shit out of the band photographs provided by the record label. Yes, contained here within are all FIVE pictures snapped by someone named Levi Walton. Levi, I have no idea who you are, but I thank you. You have saved me from trying to pass my shitty-ass cell phone pics shot from the back of the club as photography.
You know, like this one I did take... (sigh)
This night's performance was the third straight sold-out night of the band performing at Teragram and anyone could feel the anxious crowd's energy mount as they awaited for the fellas to take stage. I'm sure first thing they noticed was the mass amount of amps on stage, which most likely confirmed their suspicion that the show was going to be fucking loud... and they were right. The show started just how it should with a "Bulbs of Passion," off their very first album Dinosaur, which sounded just as raw on stage as it did on the original recording back in 1985 with heavy distorted feedback galore.
They also gave me access to album cover art as well.
They followed up that trip down memory lane with another by peeking back at their second album You're Living All Over Me with the creatively spelled "Raisans." More fans started to sing along as Mascis howled out his heartbreakingly desperate chorus: "I'll be down/I'll be around/I'll be hanging where eventually you'll have to be/I'll just stare and hope you'll car/It's only everything standing in front of me."
Yep, got that one, too.
Right after, Mascis decides, "I guess it's time to play some new songs." Dinosaur Jr. is currently touring in support of their latest album Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, their eleventh album overall and fourth since getting the band back together with the original lineup back in 2007. The first single is the song "Goin Down," and that's what they played next, followed by "Love Is..." Barlow takes over on vocals one this one, while Mascis made his Fender Jazzmaster wail and Murph continued to steadily bang away.
I know you wanted to see what the new one looked like.
Then Dino Jr. went right back into the classics, playing one of their best songs, "The Wagon," which also features some of the most fun J Mascis solos. And let's be honest-- with no offense to Lou Barlow, who is a great songwriter in his own right-- but this is what Dinosaur Jr. is all about: melancholy lyrics hissed out over heavy, catchy indie rock led exclusively by J Mascis' mastery of the guitar. In his defense, Lou also plays the shit out of his bass, strumming it hard and fast as if it were a guitar itself.
There's no mistaken the Diga-diga-diga-diga opening riff to "Watch the Corners," which means there was no pausing on the ballroom's floor for the most dediccated followers, who moved back and forth, headbanging and singing along: "Every morning came/I don't like that you can hide in..." Then they played "Crumble" off 2007's Beyond, before returning to the new album for the super catchy "Tiny," forcing everyone to start dancing again whether they wanted to or not.
Every concert I've been to in Los Angeles has always has its share of casual fans that don't seem to know a single song by the band playing and who would rather stand around and talk loudly into each other's ears than just shut up and listen to the music. And sure enough, plenty were in attendance on September 23, but every single one of those motherfuckers did, in fact, shut the fuck up for a few moments and sing along to "Feel the Pain." Surely, it was the only song they recognized.
Dinosaur Jr., man! Yeah!
Next was "Knocked Around," "Start Choppin" and "I Walk for Miles" before getting to the one song most of the crowd wanted to hear more than any other in "Freak Show" off the classic album Bug. And nothing was yelled louder all night than "Sometimes I don't thrill you/Sometimes I think I'll kill you/Just don't let me fuck up will you/'Cause when I need a friend it's still you." Yes, it was as awesome as you'd imagine it would be.
Another album cover? You fucking know it!
The set ends where it started with another distortion-heavy guitar track off the first album in "Gargoyles." One drunk dude was so happy that he fist pumped and said, "Yes! Yes!" over and over again as he stumbled back and forth into everyone around him. Sure, it's easy to think that guy was an annoying asshole, but we should all be so lucky to feel that good just once, right?
What more can I really say? It's fucking Dinosaur Jr. live-- a must for any true rock fan's bucket list. I checked it off mine and I suggest you do the same next time J, Lou and Murph come to a town near you. I mean, let's be honest, it's only a matter of time until they'll all start to hate each again, so let's reap the benefits of a peaceful reunion while you can.
PS I promise to be back next time with actual concert photography!!!!!
For more information on Dinosaur Jr., go to Dinosaurjr.com