LIVE: Dinosaur Jr. @ O2 Kentish Town Forum

By Glen Bushell

For over 30 years, Dinosaur Jr. have been the unassuming poster boys for slacker rock. Their unconventional style, the simple and relatable songwriting, and a lackadaisical attitude has won them the hearts of many. Few bands have achieved a legacy like theirs without even really trying, and they still continue to make new fans to this day. Even just the site of the silver-haired J Mascis to the side of the stage garners a rapturous applause before they have even struck a single chord.

Mascis, joined by the classic line up of bass player Lou Barlow, Murph on drums, walk out like a band playing your local bar; except your local probably wouldn’t be able to facilitate the wall of speaker cabinets that dwarf Mascis. They launch straight into ‘The Lung’, which leads to their heart warming classic, ‘Get Me.’ Mascis shreds through every solo with ease, and the fuzz driven riffs are played at a searing volume. Barlow hurls himself around as he attacks his bass, while Murph is unrelenting, pounding his kit as if it said something to annoy him.

The newer songs from their excellent album, ‘Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not’ sound perfect next to the ever familiar ‘Little Fury Things’, and they run through the 7” version of ‘The Wagon’, complete with an additional drummer and guitarist for extra attack. Mascis has never been one for long speeches in between songs, and simply just address the crowd when he needs to, introducing the occasional song. He doesn’t need to do much talking; everyone knows these songs, and they embrace them with nothing but love.

Unsurprisingly, ‘Feel The Pain’, ‘Start Choppin’, and ‘Freak Scene’ get a huge reaction from the already adoring crowd. Mascis may not be the strongest of vocalists, and the high notes on ‘I Walk For Miles’ are clearly a struggle for him to reach. If this was a new band you could be more critical. But this is Dinosaur Jr. and it’s all part of their charm.

Their set breezes by in the same frantic fashion as their songs, and before you can blink they are off stage. They return for similarly frantic encore, which includes a surprising cover of ‘Training Ground’ from the pre-Dinosaur Jr. hardcore band, Deep Wound. It leads into their dystopian cover of The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’, which no matter how many times you hear it still hits you straight in the heart.

The mould was broken when they made Dinosaur Jr., and the best part about the band is they seem oblivious to the legacy they have created. They don’t need to change, they don’t need to be different, just keep doing what they do. As long as Dinosaur Jr. are making music, the world will be a much better place.

GLEN BUSHELL