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photos by Tamara Porras, words by Andrew Sacher
J & Henry
Off!, lead by former Circle Jerks/Black Flag frontman Keith Morris, kicked off night four of Dinosaur Jr's Bug tour at Terminal 5 last night (6/23). Keith prefaced the show with an introduction of Off!'s veteran lineup that includes Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless/Hot Snakes/Rocket From the Crypt) and Steven McDonald(Redd Kross). Off! launched directly into album opener "Black Thoughts" and immediately met and exceeded the expectations set by the impressive lineup. With some of the crispest tones and sharpest hits, the band thrashed along ruthlessly as they pummeled through minute-long blasts, which acted as the perfect backdrop for Keith's piercing screams and powerful on-stage force. Despite the fact that the large venue was only about half-full at this point, Off! delivered as if the room was packed. Keith Morris, with Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown EP and a long stint in Circle Jerks under his belt, had every right to act like he knew he was a legend, but instead he modestly expressed how grateful he was for the people that came out early to catch their set.
Keith and band
Though Off! were certainly a difficult to act to follow, Fucked Up took a stab at it with almost the exact opposite approach to punk. While Off!'s songs rarely reach the 2-minute mark, Fucked Up's usually double or triple it, and explore much artier territories. Their set consisted mainly of material off their recent epic David Comes to Life, and though the set wasn't especially long, they hit most of the album's high points. Fucked Up played as hard as ever, and the new songs really pulled through live. The only downside was the size of the venue. Damian's usual antics, like going into the crowd and holding the mic out over the audience work well in smaller clubs, but if you weren't in the first few rows at Terminal 5, it came off less successfully than the band deserved. Things should be a little better at 285 Kent on Saturday night.
Before Dinosaur Jr. took the stage, Henry Rollins (aka the second Black Flag frontman on stage that night) conducted a much-anticipated interview with the band. Henry was a great person to interview Dinosaur Jr. Not only is he arguably the best speaker in punk rock, but the admiration between Dinosaur Jr. and Henry Rollins for each other was so clear. Henry opened his interview by telling us he is a "XXXL Dinosaur Jr. fan," and during the interview, when asked which live shows were influential on them, Murph mentioned Black Flag. In the interview they discussed things like how Dino got their start, the independent music industry, Husker Du (whose frontman Bob Mould should have been at Terminal 5 instead of 92YTribeca), Lou's departure from the band, and other related topics.
After the interview concluded, the members of Dinosaur Jr. left the stage shortly before returning to play Bug in its entirety. J Mascis began the show by saying, "We opened the other night with 'Freak Scene' and it was kinda weird so we're gonna play 2 songs that aren't on Bug first." The band quickly jolted through "In a Jar" and "The Wagon" before taking on their 9-track masterpiece Bug. The opening chords of "Freak Scene" rang throughout Terminal 5 as the crowd responded with cheers of admiration for the album's powerful opener. In typical Dinosaur Jr. fashion, J. Mascis stayed virtually still for the majority of the set, even when ripping through noisy, intricate solos, as Lou Barlow was bashing around stage. Though "Freak Scene" is by and large the album standout, some of the most exciting moments of the show came later on in the set. The band's energy on "Yeah We Know" and "Budge" was especially dead on. For the album closer, "Don't," Lou admitted that he had blown his voice out screaming the song on the first night of the tour so he invited a friend up to perform vocals. Dino turned the song into an extended jam as their guest vocalist writhed on stage and executed a frenzied rendition of Lou's screams on the track. Same story, same special guest at the Northampton show.
After the jammed out track subsided and Bug was over, the band performed an encore with three more tracks. The last one, a cover of "Chunks" by Last Rights, invited Fucked Up's Damian Abraham out to perform lead vocals. Once starting the song, it only took Damian a few seconds to end up back in the crowd, and for their guest vocalist who had performed on "Don't" to run back on stage, grab J's mic, and join Damian in the song. After the encore and much praise for the band from Damian, Dinosaur Jr. left the stage again, putting an end to a truly unforgettable night.
More pictures, video of the Henry Rollins interview, and Dino Jr.'s setlist below...
Henry Rollins interviews Dinosaur Jr
Dinosaur Jr.'s Setlist:
In a Jar
They Always Come
Yeah We Know
Let It Ride
Feel The Pain
Chunks (Last Rights cover)