Despite Dinosaur Jr being one of my favorite bands, I don't think I've seen them since 2009 when they played Club Hell in Providence. When I saw that they were playing The Met Cafe, one of my favorite clubs, I knew I had to go. I mean, how could this go wrong? Well...
I do have to briefly mention Easy Action who opened the show. I knew nothing about them when I walked in during their set, but holy Jesus, were they amazing. They're too straight forward rock to be noise punk, and they're way too loud and noisy to be hard rock. They occupy some bizarre territory in between the two. It was just loud, artsy rock that was far too rock to be smart, but too interesting to be dumb. I will have to get them on my radar ASAP!
Now for Dinosaur Jr's set. Easy Action sounded great. I'm not sure what happened in between sets, but something was just wrong during their set. They opened with "Thumb" from Green Mind. The only reason I knew they opened with "Thumb" is because I could read it on the set list. Maybe it was because I was standing in front of Lou Barlow, but I could barely make out anything J Mascis was doing. Both his vocals and guitar were barely audible. The main reason you go to see Dinosaur Jr is for J's incredible, mind melting guitar playing, and that was pretty much useless.
I toughed it out from that vantage point for a few more songs before moving towards the back. It sounded better from back there, but still not great. Plus, for those of us that love to watch Mascis play guitar and silently curse ourselves for never learning and end up wandering into a guitar shop the next day dreaming about learning, the back isn't where we want to go. I kept trying to find a better area where I could see and hear the way I wanted to, but I just couldn't. The best I could find was an area to the left of the stage where I could see Mascis (when he wasn't in front of the microphone, at least) and hear ok, but Barlow and Murph were completely obscured by a pole and amplifier. I saw "Feel the Pain" and "Little Fury Things" from this vantage point, but during either "Knocked Around" or "Lose," I ended up taking off for the night.
It's weird, because I've seen both Dinosaur Jr multiple times, and I've been to The Met Cafe twice just this year, and all have been great experiences. Hopefully this was just a one off bad experience. One great thing from the night was during "Left/Right," Barlow played guitar while Mascis played bass in a very Sebadoh move. Plus, leaving meant that I missed "Forget the Swan," which is quite possibly my favorite Dino Jr song, and a cover of The Stooges "T.V. Eye." Maybe next time...
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