Dinosaur Jr. The Prophet Bar Saturday, October 6
It's a tale that's been repeated throughout the history of rock: a washed-up band comes to town to promote new album, fans demand the familiar old stuff and a journalist writes a negative review. At Saturday night's Dinosaur Jr. show, this old spell was finally broken.
In the darkness of the Prophet Bar, fans crowded around the stage and bobbed their heads to tunes from the trio's latest offering, I Bet on Sky, a typical Dinosaur Jr. album that hovers between metal, pop and punk. Fans requested old hits - "Feel the Pain," "Get Me," "Start Choppin'" - and singer-guitarist J Mascis honored them with feedback that sent the crowd traveling back to the '90s, when the band played the Gypsy Tea Room.
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Age and wisdom haven't hampered Mascis' skills, for the guitarist decimated the crowd. Several fans fell to the floor, and one of them had to be carried out. A tell-tale smell indicated that the crowd was no longer in Dallas, but in some kind of weird alternate reality where dinosaurs inspired a groove that still resonates in my mind.
When the band decided to slow down and sing a song about not going to college, bassist Lou Barlow crooned: "The words in this song are bullshit. Don't listen to them. I fuckin' regret it." The crowd roared its approval and a tune that sounded like a strange mixture of Sex Pistols and Pixies caused a mini-mosh pit to form. A crazed fan tried to jump on stage, and a one-armed guitar tech warned him away from the dinosaurs, but then another lunatic fan ran across the stage and dove into a crowd that wasn't in the mood for body surfing.
"Make sure there's someone to catch you first," said Barlow, looking at the splattered lunatic on the floor.
Although one fan's repeated scream to hear their remake of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" was unanswered, Dinosaur Jr. inspired me to look beyond Seattle for the current reemergence of grunge. There is more to the movement than flannel-wearing, heroin-addicted singers who scream "Fuck the system" while dropping $100,000 for a crack rock. Maybe there are more singers like Mascis, who ride a skateboard and smile because he's the man who Kurt Cobain wanted in his more infamous band.