Saturday, October 22, 2022

Dinosaur, Jr. @ Trabendo, Paris - October 22nd, 2022

Alternative rock legends Dinosaur, Jr. have been on a roll since their 2005 reunion: all of their albums have been excellent and they've been playing to full houses everywhere. When this show was first announced, it was supposed to take place in a much smaller club but demand has been so high that they've upscaled it to the roomier Trabendo, in the southeastern region of the French capital.

It's funny to think of them as a classic rock band, but that's what happens when you stick around long enough. Dinosaur, Jr. will soon be turning forty. When The Rolling Stones were forty, they were three years away from releasing A Bigger Bang. Let THAT sink in.

One thing you should be aware of if you're ever thinking of attending a Dinosaur, Jr. show: it's going to be fucking loud. Deafeningly so. As a rule, you should always wear ear protections at rock shows but in this case it is absolutely mandatory. Lou Barlow's bass sound is as growlingly powerful as Lemmy's and Jay Mascis' strident guitar lines pierce through the air and eardrums like distorted banshee screams. In fact the whole show is an ode to Electricity, an hymn to the Church of Noise with J. Mascis, guitar hero for the slacker generation, acting as the High Priest of Decibels. 

But what sets Dinosaur, Jr. apart from their noise rock contemporaries is their melodic songwriting: underneath the layers of metallic cacophony, they have perfectly crafted songs with hooks for days, and if the people in the pit were definitely moshing (in fact, this was one of the wildest pits I've seen in a long time), they were also singing along to every verse and chorus of songs like the classics like Get Me, Start Choppin' and Mountain Man as well as newer tunes like I Met The Stones. They ended the set with their famous cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven before leaving the stage in a deluge of feedback.

It always amazes me to see veteran bands drawing such young crowds. Sure, there were a lot of people in their fifties, people who lived through the "alternative" revolution. But there was also a staggering amount of younger kids, mouthing every word and banging their heads like maniacs. Like their parents used to do. Perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised. Perhaps that's what timeless music does.

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