Dinosaur Jr @ Urban Lounge w/ Shearwater 10.14.12

Posted October 19, 2012 in
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Photo: Brantley Gutierrez

I've geared for this since the zitty days of community baseball. Half-brained memories coaxed out of dull obscurity by after-hours cocktails of anti-depressants and chicken fingers emerge. All stupid, and all true. Bone frostingly, throat-closingly, feel-it-throbbing-in-the-core of yer balls-ingly true. Through dead cats and missed calls and car wrecks and girlfriends becoming ex-girlfriends. All of them delicately choreographed to the effervescent muck of "Does it Float?" "Sludgefeast" and "Budge."

 
Cheers announce J, Lou and Murph approaching the stage. They resemble the picture in Our Band Could Be Your Life … just updated with frownier face lines. They are Dinosaur Jr. J slides like a newborn snail on a predetermined track, wispy strands of a silvery mane undulating with each slinking step. He removes his horn-rimmed glasses, lifts a Fender Jaguar from its stand and delicately summons a jangly wail from it. Then he yawns.
 
Lou says something. Something about a new album. He thanks us for spending our sabbath with him. He's the talkative one. More shuffling, some more reconfiguring and more tinkling of instruments. Crowd mumbling doesn't indicate much, but I'm still wondering how they'll be received. The preceding band, Shearwater, got a decent response. Okkervil River membership aside, they were plenty noisy and brawly and uncontained … and that's not accounting for that one dick who continually bellowed "DINOSAUR! DINOSAAAUR!" throughout their set. Heckling or stupidity? May we never know.
 
The trio oozes into a new track without warning or stick count. J mews into the mic, barely audible 'neath the fuzzy tumult spewing from the sextet of Marshall amplifiers on the stage and Murph's cymbals slice through my thoughts.
 
Show-goers respond, but not immediately. Maybe they want "Little Fury Things" or "Just Like Heaven." Maybe they're tripping balls. I rock back and wince through the pang of shin splints wafting into my knees. I'm not "too old," just reckless with my body. There's a pause before "They Always Come." I add my throaty commentary to the choruses, safe in a crowd. "Watch the Corners" goes into "Start Choppin" which begats "Raisans." I cop my phone to capture the caterwauling solo on video, but a bouncer shoots me a disapproving grimace. I ain't tryna start a rumble, and slip it back into my shirt pocket. 
 
"This is a song from my first hardcore band with J, [Deep Wound]," Lou says. "It's kind of a slow one." I'm fiending for "Your Head is in Your Crotch," but "Video Prick" will do fine. Then there's "Feel the Pain" and "Freak Scene," which boils up some communal crowd participation. J shuts off and leans away as a packed club bleats the "sometimes I don't thrill you/sometimes I think I'll kill you/just don't let me fuck up, will you?/ cuz when I need a friend it's still you" refrain like trained seals. 
 
Lou's hopping around like a shaggy court jester, fingers throttling his fretboard like a downed goose, stopping only to shake the wayward dog mop from his eyes. Murph's light grey shirt has turned a soggy shade of navy and his shaven head glistens under the azure lighting. J waddles in place, neither sluggish nor indifferent. Just J. 
 
"Forget the Swans" closes the spectacle, J playing the high-notes at a Neil Young type register. Then they leave, wordless and coated in sweat. The crowd knows better and keeps cheering. They go to their back room. Maybe they get a drink of water or say a quick group prayer. 
 
Then they emerge, slowly scaling the stage again. "Out There" gives way to "Kracked," which gives way to me mentally begging for "Yeah We Know." It doesn't happen, but I'm OK with it. I need to stay hungry. It's not good for the boy to always get what he wants.
 
 Then it ends and I'm back outside. If I was someone else, I'd smoke a cigarette or tweet something. Maybe I'd smile with self-satisfaction and wave to passers-by. But I don't. I'm waist deep in that certain point of sensory recognition where nothing's bringing me back to reality. No eight hours of sleep, no parents and not grad school. I'm nowhere. Suspended in the ether, melting into the couch, sliding a deconstructed Gillette across my supple, trembling wrist. I'm curled up at destiny's feet like a purring puss, gurgling and grinning at every bell and whizz-bang careening into my soft white forehead and burrowing deep into my brain. These are the mid-20 I've heard about. This is what happens.
Photos:
Photo: Brantley Gutierrez Photo: Brantley Gutierrez