When: September 26th, 2016.
Where: The Independent – San Francisco, CA.
Live fast, rock hard, die…old?
I’d like to start, as usual, with a little bit about the opening group, Heron Oblivion. They were a great band to open for Dinosaur Jr. The music they played was very similar in it’s grungy punk-rock slam on your instrument until it starts to squeal attitude but with a slight twist. The band came out dressed across generations. The bass player was in the 70’s, wearing a brown suit and button down with huge flayed out collar, crazy unkempt beard and wild hair (what he had left of it). The backup guitarist was dressed to the 80’s, the drummer to the 90’s and the lead guitarist rounding out the 2000’s. The psychedelic vocals, lead by the drummer, Meg Baird, created groovy overtones punctuated by the bass players shouts and jives. Their set was short but just long enough to get those of us who showed up for it moving about, hungry for the main course, Dinosaur jr.
J, Lou, and Murph lumbered on stage as though it was business as usual, the literal wall of amplifiers behind them a sign of what was to come. The first thing I noticed was how worn out J’s guitar was, proof of the miles these guys have put on over the years. There were no introductions, no messing around, they knew what we wanted and just started slamming away. I expected Dinosaur Jr. to be loud. After all, its been their MO (and The Independent’s) for decades now. I was worried that the two combined would leave my ears bleeding. Luckily this was not the case, but nonetheless the show was loud. Really loud. Like couldn’t even tell I was wearing ear plugs loud. After the first song someone in the well graded crowd of people who’ve followed these guys from the start and second generation fans such as myself started yelling “vocals up” to which J replied “what did you guys say?” joking as though he was already deaf from the countless shows to this point. J and Lou took the time to tune their instruments, an often occurrence given how hard these guys play. While Murph banged about on the drum set, J went to each of the tower of amps behind him and turned them up to what I can only presume was 11, and they were back at it. The set consisted of a good mix of their classics and a few songs from the newest, and whopping 11th studio album, “Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not”.
In just over an hour they had torn through the set list (posted on our instagram and in the photos from the concert on our site). Naturally, despite the group walking off the stage, the crowd had not had enough and let them know it. We cheered and cheered trying to coax them back on for a few more. I couldn’t help but think they might not hear us since we were only able to muster a fraction of the volume of their set. After what felt like a 5 minutes, they were headed back out. Lou got up tot he mike asking for suggestions for the encore. He wen’t around asking fans for suggestions, holding the mic up to them so they could scream it for all to hear. After taking about 5 suggestions they’d heard enough. They played 2 more songs before really calling it a night. J got his guitar reverberating to his liking, set it down on the stage, and walked out as Murph and Lou finished up. They departed and so did the crowd, sweaty, content, and ears ringing.
Special shout out to the dude who was too hammered to stand trying to mosh and getting thrashed like a rag doll in the jaws of a pit bull. Never say never.
TL;DR – NOT EXTINCT