Friday June 24th a few thousand slackers, rebels and freaks gathered on a beautiful summer evening to experience Dinosaur Jr and Off! pounding away at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA.
The house lights faded, sound checks were done, the crowd roared. The stage was set for a incredible night of earblasting greatness…
Off! – Raw, fast and hard.
Keith Morris – vocals – (Black Flag, Circle Jerks)
Steven Shane McDonald – Bass – (Redd Kross, Tenacious D)
Dimitri Coats – Guitar – (Burning Brides)
Mario Rubalcaba – Drums – (Hot Snakes, Earthless)
Keith Morris is as full of anti-establishment vitriol as he ever was. Off!’s connections to Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, Hot Snakes, Beck, Tenacious D and professional skateboarding create a virtual road-map of intersecting highways and bi-ways of hardcore punk music and alternative rock.
Dinosaur Jr. – Interview by Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins emerged and fans cheered. Rollins started by giving credit to Morris “The first and best singer of Black Flag” and thanked everyone for the 30+ years. Henry supplied the crowd with a little background information on Dinosaur Jr. and introduced J Mascis, Murph, and Lou Barlow. More cheers from the thousands in attendance and then on to the interview. With Dinosaur Jr interviews play a significant role in their history. Tales of J Mascis being difficult to interview and of course the infamous Barlow interviews in “Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991” in which Lou Barlow vents his & Murph’s frustrations with J.
It was great to hear them laughing about old times and discussing the stories. Some of the highlights: Mascis admits to being a dick. Murph airs his frustration at not being as technically proficient a drummer as Mascis. Barlow was extremely happy that he could rewrite the ending from the Azerrad book.
Henry Rollins did a good job of keeping it moving and entertaining the crowd.
J Mascis – vocals, guitar
Lou Barlow – bass
Murph – drums
Dinosaur Jr. had major influence on the Pixies, Hüsker Dü, Pavement and of course Nirvana. While never reaching the commercial success of the people that were inspired by them, Dinosaur Jr. were a seminal band in the grunge movement. Their roots lay in hardcore, country, classic rock and punk. The sound evolved from their love of fast hard music and wimpy-jangly stuff.
Opening with a couple of great new songs to warm up then on to the classic album “Bug” in it’s entirety.
Bug was originally released on SST records (Greg Ginn’s label for Black Flag) back in 1988.
The album was ahead of it’s time and still holds up today.
Mixing all types of music and creating something that couldn’t be defined.
The final song – ‘Don’t’ – is an intense 6 minute song that screams out in frustration. You can’t listen to it and not feel the pain. It is rumored that Barlow was so intense on the original performance of the song that he was coughing up blood.
I suspect the rumors may be true. Barlow announced that ‘Don’t’ would be sung by Philadelphia native Charlie. There was a back story to Charlie and why he was singing to song, but I couldn’t make it out. Sorry Charlie – But I did get some incredible photos of what I’m sure was the coolest moment of your life…
After a few minutes Dinosaur Jr. was coaxed back onto the stage and performed a booming rendition of ‘Feel the Pain’ and then asked the crowd what they would like to hear. Little Fury Things and Start Chopping lost out to the favorite ‘In a Jar’.
Our wounds do heal. You can see the scars, but those scars fade and morph into something greater…
Photos by James:Shot by Us