[ATTENDED: July 16, 2016] Dinosaur Jr.
I have wanted to see Dinosaur Jr for many years. I intended to see them last year when they toured with Primus, but I couldn’t get to the show. So I was pretty excited that they were touring again, this time with Jane’s Addiction.
I had never been to a Stone Pony Summer Stage (never been to The Stone Pony either) and I didn’t really know what to expect (reviews on Yelp are pretty harsh). Things got even more questionable when the weather turned nasty. The show was supposed to start at 6, but as of 4:30 there was a huge thunderstorm in Absury Park, so they delayed the opening of the show. And since there were more storms threatening for later, it was possible that it might get cancelled.
Just to make things a little more unsatisfying, Living Colour was supposed to be the first band on the bill. I’ve never seen them and while I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them, I thought they’d be a lot of fun live. I found out yesterday (although this was probably decided much earlier) that they weren’t playing in this show (they are in Germany), and that Minus the Bear would be opening instead.
I don’t know Minus the Bear (a lot of bands with names like “noun the noun” lately, and I don’t really know any of them). I listened to a few songs before the show and thought they might be fun. But the gates didn’t wind up opening until 8PM, so Minus the Bear didn’t even play.
The venue was under some major time constraints with the weather. They said that Dino would go on at 8:30, and at 8:35 the band started even though they didn’t start letting people in until 8 and the line was around the block. They started the first song while I was standing on line, but the sound was fine from where I was and I quickly ran in and got pretty close to the stage.
They opened with “The Lung” and it was great to watch J. soloing like a maniac from just a few feet away. They played a song from their soon to be released album called “Goin Down,” which has some big bass rumblings and loud chords (and is really catchy). And then they played “Back to Your Heart” sung by Lou Barlow, from their first reunion album.
It was with “Pieces” that I noticed that something was off with the sound. I had moved a little more towards the middle (a few really fucking big guys got in front of me–and the amount of times they said “fucking” means that they were really fucking big guys (who knew big Jersey muscleguys listened to Jane’s Addiction?). It seemed like the band’s music was coming from their walls of amplifiers but that the vocals were coming out of the stage’s mounted speakers–so it was really hard to hear J.’s voice whenever he played a loud section on guitar (which was often).
The crowd even started chanting “vocals! vocals! vocals!” and Lou more or less described what I said and told us to move back if we wanted to hear clearly. Well, who wanted to do that? So, I made do with some mostly instrumental versions of the rest of the songs. Someone in the crowd later said that you always get poor vocals at a Dino show, although videos online suggest otherwise.
They played another new song “Tiny” which was insanely poppy. And then they moved into older songs. I wasn’t sure if they’d play any songs from when Lou and Murph weren’t in the band, but played “Feel the Pain” which is one of my favorite Dino songs and “Start Chopping.” Hearing him sing that high-pitched “goodbye” with that iconic guitar riff was excellent.
They moved all the way back to their Bug album with a great version of “Freak Scene,” and then ended with their noisy cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” (with Barlow screaming the “YOU!” part in the photo to the right).
When I saw that the two bands were being billed almost as co-headliners, I assumed that Dino would get a longish set. After the show, I thought maybe our set was truncated because of the rain, but no, it appears that they’re mostly doing 9 songs as the opening band.
I definitely wanted more, but i was pretty happy to finally see them. And here’s another clip of J. wailing.
- The Lung
- Goin Down
- Back to Your Heart
- Feel the Pain
- Start Choppin
- Freak Scene
- Just Like Heaven