Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dinosaur Jr./Off!/Henry Rollins, Paradise Boston, 6/22/11

On my college's spring break of 1994, I took my friend from South Dakota back to the east coast so he could "see New York." During that week, we also went up to New Hampshire to visit Pat, my friend since '80, at his dorm. While there, he showed us the 1991: The Year Punk Broke VHS. Among the hilarious candid footage of Sonic Youth and Nirvana dicking around Europe was Dinosaur Jr.'s performance of "Freak Scene" in front of tens of thousands of young English people outside. It was a memorable moment for me.

And so here we are in 2011, and the original Dinosaur lineup is playing "Freak Scene" at a packed Paradise in Boston, and this time I'm in the crowd. Pretty sweet. (I was with Kim but Pat told me about this show--and he and I did get to see a different Dinosaur reunion show in 2005, which I described, with similar "wow, here we are years later"-ness, on the blog here.)

You can watch the '91 Freak Scene on YouTube here. And then you can compare it to the one I shot tonight below.

We left for Boston, 45 miles away, at 5:30, intending to do a full sit-down dinner before seeing the opening band, Off!, at 8:00. When 7:45 rolled around, we were still sitting in dead traffic by the MFA, listening to the final rain delay of the Sox game on radio. Fortunately, we made the Paradise right at 8, and grabbed slices on the way in, and only missed (I assume) a little of Off!'s set. This band features Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks, and they kicked buttox of course. I also liked how Keith got pissed at people who don't use their signal. I know! So many people are so rude, I make plans of Canada-relocating daily. So it's good a guy like Keith is on my side. The young whippersnappers may be all, "I don't need to use my blinker, old man," but while Keith Morris is old, he's still the former lead singer of the Circle Jerks and Black Flag, so HE wins. So eff you, selfish members of society.

This tour has a twist, which is that before DJ plays, Henry Rollins comes out and interviews them. Besides just being a naturally funny guy, Rollins just cracks me up with his intensity level on all issues. When interviewing the members of Dinosaur, you got the feeling like even though they could relate to his punk rock experiences, they've just kind of let certain things roll right off their backs. Like, Henry asked about how they "dealt" with the first time having a semi-hit song and how they had to do a clean radio edit for it. And they just kind of looked at him like, "No big deal, dude, why are you making a fuss about it?" So J Mascis's answers were often one word. It was great. At once point some drunk girl started yelling for them to just play. What, did she think they were about to play and some random person from the crowd started talking to them? This is the show, woman! They obviously signed up for this, and the rest of us wanna hear them talk.

But finally that ended, and we waited some more while Dinosaur changed into their superhero costumes. At that point my throat was killing me (it has been for way too long), I was hot, my legs hurt from standing and my neck from craning, and these talls were right in my way. Lifelong adults might not understand this, but what I needed was the loud-as-hell-yet-soothing blast of Dinosaur Jr. We knew ahead of time they'd be playing the 1988 Bug album, but they did a few other songs first. So I had time to prepare to record "Freak Scene," which is Track 1. They nailed the album, and for the last song, "Don't," they had two dudes from the audience some up and sing, because Lou Barlow clearly can't do it the way his voice was. (The one factoid Wikipedia gives about the Bug album is how Lou coughed up blood after doing the vocal on that tune.) Those guys were psyched to get to sing the song, but the band go the last laugh, extending it for about 12 minutes, all of which I recorded.

Then they did an encore with a few more songs before we headed back out into the rain, and back to that same pizza joint for some midnight fries and Cherry Coke. (Then in the car we heard Def Leppard's Rocket and Herbie Hancock's Rock It within ten minutes on two different stations! Well, I did, Kim was asleep.)

The same show happens tomorrow night in NYC. If you're close, go.

Nice review! I really enjoyed OFF! And DJ of course. Great photos and video. Thanks!
No prob limo.
Great review. (And super timely - wow).

I got there 8:15ish , missing a song or two or three of OFF!'s set.

The two inebriated guys at the close of Bug were fantastic.

Rollins's spiel about Jello Biafra co-opting Rollins's bed was interesting, never heard that part of punk rock folklore before.
Yeah, that was funny. For those who care, the story was: Rollins said Jello decided that he would stay at Rollins' apartment (his first after leaving home), and then decided he'd sleep on Rollins' bed, leaving Hank on the floor. But Rollins got to hear an early demo of Too Drunk to Fuck, so he considered that his reward.

As for the non-Bug songs, The Wagon was one of the two they played before, and Out There was in the encore.
I think was my 7th time seeing Mascis--I can think of 2 NYC shows, 3 Noho shows, and a Newbury Comics one.
Sounds like a great show. Lucky!

In a related story, all this makes me feel very, very old.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States