Dinosaur Jr. Balance Heft With Harmony at Pearl Street

Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

After years of bludgeoning audiences with wave after wave of churning, sludgy power rock — in a good way — Dinosaur Jr.’s more recent shows, like the one Wednesday night at Pearl Street in Northampton, have introduced a new dynamic: slow jams, or what passes for slow jams from the influential Amherst trio. The band’s last two albums, 2009’s “Farm” and this year’s “I Bet on Sky,” broadened their focus to include a greater degree of nuance on songs that tilt the balance of Dinosaur’s music toward more equal measures of heft and harmony. Until it’s time for singer and guitarist J Mascis to solo, which still seems like what it must be like to stand in the center of a white-hot tornado.

The band mixed the set between newer songs and old favorites. Mascis’ effects-treated guitar sounded like a chorus of synths on “Almost Fare,” he dialed in a jittery riff on “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know” and rode a rugged guitar part into a lacerating solo on “Watch the Corners,” all from the new album. Elsewhere, the band dove with ferocious abandon into the roiling “Little Fury Things,” and Mascis unleashed a massive rock-slide of a solo on a fiercer-than-usual “Freak Scene.” Bassist Lou Barlow sang lead on a pair of songs, included the amped-up rocker “Rude,” while Murph hit the drums like they had wronged him.

After ending the main set with the blistering, aptly named “Sludgefeast,” Dinosaur Jr. returned for a two-song encore that closed with their cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

— Eric R. Danton

  2 comments for “Dinosaur Jr. Balance Heft With Harmony at Pearl Street

  1. Cokes
    November 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    If your setlist notes are good (and I suspect they are), you should do the internet a solid and help out:

    http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/dinosaur-jr/2012/pearl-street-northampton-ma-5bda3b70.html

    • Listen, Dammit
      November 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      They’re good, but not complete – missing a couple of song titles.

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