Only a week late. And I was on such a hot streak, too.
It’s not entirely my fault. I bought a new computer and it’s awesome, but it takes a long time to get these things set up and running the way you need them to. Not that I really needed to set up Notepad, true, but I do enjoy making excuses.
So. Dinosaur Jr. I didn’t really know what I was getting into with this one. I knew the name, but the songs? Not so much. Mika listed off their best-known singles, but that didn’t help me any. Determined to right this wrong, I hopped onto the internet and downloaded their entire discography. This was about two months ago. I proceeded to then not listen to any of it. Good job, me.
No great adventures going to the show, or parking, or anything like that. We hit the Odeon not too long after the doors opened, went upstairs, and got Diet Cokes. Then we sat around and waited for the show to begin.
The whole appeal of this show for Mika was Lou Barlow, who plays in Dinosaur Jr. and has a pile of other projects too. She likes that guy a lot. Apparently, at one point, lead singer J. Mascis broke up Dinosaur Jr. and reformed it a day later without Lou Barlow. I could look all this up in order to ensure factual accuracy (insofar as Wikipedia is factually accurate), but I’m too lazy. Anyway, this tour is the long-awaited Dinosaur Jr. reunion – needless to say, it was unexpected, and Mika was delighted that Lou Barlow was coming to town. Then we heard that he was touring with Sebadoh, one of his other bands, and might not be here after all. And THEN, on Pitchfork, we heard that not only was Lou Barlow in fact touring with Dinosaur Jr., but he would be doing a solo set to open the show. And THEN, we heard that someone else would be opening.
When I say “we” up there, I really mean “Mika” because I didn’t bother reading any of this stuff on Pitchfork because I really didn’t care.
The doors opened at 8:00. At 9:00, someone came out onto the stage. Dude with guitar. Mika couldn’t really see whoever it was, so we traded spots, because again, I really didn’t care. As it turns out, this was Lou Barlow and Mika was delighted, so we decided to go stand down by the stage. There weren’t a lot of people there. He played a short set, all on acoustic guitar with no accompaniment. In between songs, he asked a lot about Joni Mitchell, and whether we had a Joni Mitchell statue or Joni Mitchell museum anywhere in the city.
He also talked a bit about Ratt.
I don’t know if I can say a whole lot about his set, but I liked it well enough. Apparently, the songs that got the best reaction were all Sebadoh songs. I’ll take Mika’s word for that one.
With time to kill, we went back upstairs and hung out on one of the leather couches. Comfy.
Awesome Colour was the second opening act – presumably, these were the guys mentioned on Pitchfork. I think Mika said they’re from New York, so I hope they don’t mind if I stick a U in their name. These guys were perfectly tolerable. I wasn’t blown away, and if they came through town on their own, I wouldn’t rush out to see them, but I didn’t hate this or anything. It was pretty awesome when they were done, though, because that meant we could go back to the leather couch. You can tell there wasn’t a huge crowd because there was minimal couch competition. I’d say maybe the crowd, at its peak, was maybe half of the size of the crowd at Metric, which will mean nothing to almost all of the entire planet.
Finally, Dinosaur Jr. took the stage, which sucked, because I was liking that couch. As they came out, I decided to get us more Diet Cokes – I got back to our table just as the first note was played. And it was loud. Not just loud, really, but holy-fucking-shit loud. I could tell because I heard it and said “holy fucking shit” at close to the top of my voice.” Mika said “what?” I knew this conversation wasn’t going to improve any, so I said “yes” and turned to face the stage.
So loud. It hurt. It hurt the next day. As the show began, I immediately began ranking concert loudness in my head. This show has to make the Top 4, along with The Offspring, Big Sugar, and Jucifer. Tough call as to who wins. Offspring never sounded as loud as the other three, but they were in the largest venue. Big Sugar was notoriously painful – notorious because I was getting hate mail about that concert review seven years after the fact – but we were sitting close to the speakers in smaller, pre-renovation Louis’. Jucifer was so loud that I assumed the singer wasn’t actually singing because you couldn’t hear any vocals. Not that you couldn’t make them out, it seriously looked like she was moving her lips but no noise was coming out.
At any rate, my point is that I was not necessarily having the best time, there on a Sunday night at Dinosaur Jr. At one point, I thought “why does Dinosaur Jr. hate me so much?” Then I realized that I know nothing about them, don’t care about them, and didn’t really feel like being there, and I decided that put together, those were all valid reasons for them to hate me. So, you know, it’s not like they weren’t justified.
As the show progressed, I watched people leave and I felt envious. I considered going to the bathroom, standing in the toilet, and flushing it, in hopes of torpedoing myself to freedom. In the end, I scrapped this idea because I figured it was unlikely to work, and the Dinosaur Jr. concert experience would not be enhanced by wet shoes. Nobody likes that.
Mika – who actually knows songs by the band – enjoyed the show, for what it’s worth. However, she had no interest in sticking around for the encore, and for that, I was thankful.
I don’t want to say this sucked or anything. It was just Not My Thing. Not everything is my thing. Maybe it would be your thing? Do you like loud? And hollering?
And see, it’s not like I DON’T like loud and hollering, sometimes. We had this discussion on the drive back home. Would I like Dinosaur Jr. if I heard them on CD? Mika said no, but I am not so sure. Let’s forget for a minute that I could have listened to one of my downloaded CDs in the past week, because I sure didn’t do that. But, okay, Nirvana. Let’s say there’s some kind of crazy space-time continuum magic and Kurt Cobain comes back from the dead for one night only and Nirvana winds up playing that show on Sunday night instead of Dinosaur Jr. They would probably have been even louder and more chaotic. And I probably would have liked it. And I’ve heard Big Sugar – who I didn’t like at all in concert – on the radio and I like some of their stuff. So who knows. Maybe I should have familiarized myself with the band first, or maybe they’re just Not My Thing. So it goes.