Dinosaur Jr. Rev Up Brooklyn Steel With Growling Set (SHOW REVIEW)

Photo by Cara Totma

The melodic noise rock trio Dinosaur Jr. played to a receptive sold out crowd at Brooklyn Steel on Saturday night November 20th, delivering a strong set of guitar driven tunes from all eras of their long career. 

Opening with the cantankerous “Bulbs of Passion” from their very first release Dinosaur, the group (J Mascis – guitar vocals, Murph drums, Lou Barlow – bass, vocals) turned up the growly hulking sound to eleven from the first notes. The metallic “Tarpit” rang out gloriously before the band decided to showcase a group of songs from their 2021 soaring offering, Sweep It Into Space. The strongest of these new tunes was the Barlow lead “Garden” but all of them seamlessly fit into Dinosaur Jr.’s patented ear bleeding country sound. 

An upbeat highlight of the set was a cooking version of “The Wagon” which found the low end of Murph and Lou supplemented by an extra drummer, as tour manager John Moloney joined the band to give the song a double injection of snares, kicks, toms and cymbals. Throughout the set the chugging bottom created by the interlocking of Barlow and Murph allowed Mascis to soar.   

The revved up “Been There All the Time” was high energy, flowing with swirling pedal effects while “Freakscene” had the packed house bouncing along to the beat before a ripping solo from Mascis. Perhaps the pinnacle of the whole show was a mid-set “Sludgefeast” which thunderously rose from the ashes, lumbering to life with stop/start riffs.  The bright “Start Choppin’” and the swaying crispness of “Feel The Pain” were both well received closing the stout fourteen song set. 

The band wrapped up the night with a three song encore as the upbeat catchiness of the new “I Ran Away”, and the screeching frenzy of “Little Fury Things” were both successful but it was the finale that sealed the deal. The bone crushing cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” found Barlow leading the way with rumbling distortion and screams while J’s guitar warbled out with both pop flair and heavy as hell feedback. 

Like other bands, Dinosaur Jr. has been forced to cancel live dates multiple times because of the pandemic, and when they take the stage now there is an extra giddy up to their Marshall stacks shaking rock, their set at Brooklyn Steel was a confirmation that the group is still going strong.  

Dinosaur Jr. Setlist Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY, USA 2021

 

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