Dinosaur Jr. takes Codfish Hollow into a spin of nostalgia, peppered with great new tunes

Photos by Michael Roeder

Dinosaur Jr. rocks. I don’t really need to say that, but the show at Codfish Hollow this past Wednesday (with openers Arbor Labor Union) was a reminder of just how ear-meltingly good they still are. The band played in support of their new record, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, and, since I hadn’t seen them play live in nearly 20 years, I was excited.

J Mascis tore into the first guitar riff, and it was definitely loud; I was thrilled at the sound and clarity of the giant Marshall stack. I was anticipating just heavy loudness, not the crystal clarity of the guitar and bass. By the time they ripped into “Feel the Pain,” arguably the band’s most recognizable song, the crowd was fully bought in. It was obvious that they were happy to hear old favorites. That’s not to say the show was entirely a trip down Gen X memory lane, because it wasn’t. They played a couple of new songs from the album, and the crowd ate those up, too.

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“Tiny,” one of those new songs, was an instant crowd pleaser. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is a solid album, and “Tiny” really stands out as one of the better cuts. I’s ’90s jangly guitar sounds easily could be on any one of their early albums, and this is what makes the album overall really pretty good — a solid 8 out of 10. There may not be any monster hits, but it is packed with the fast-paced poppy sound that fans have come to know and love. Mascis really taps into his punk side, and it’s an indicator that this record is more than just pure nostalgia for (first) Clinton-era college kids.

There was a moment in the show, right before they finished “Feel the Pain,” when J Mascis looked completely beatific — hair blowing in the wind from the stage fans, serenely playing the one of the loudest guitar riffs of the evening. It was magical, and, countered by the ferocity emanating from Lou Barlow, it made for quite an aural experience. As I stood in the crowd, surrounded by dudes with beards and boots, I could feel the riot grrrl in me rising. And for a shining and beautiful moment, it was 1994 all over again.

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They closed the show with a cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” and I have to say, this may have been my favorite moment of the show. I’m a sucker for that song, and J and Lou didn’t disappoint. At the end of it all, I loved the show, both the classic favorites and the new songs.

Dinosaur Jr. will be on tour for the rest of the summer and into fall.

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