Dinosaur Jr revive mid-west grunge @ O2 Forum Kentish Town

Indie rock legends ‘Dinosaur Jr’ finally got the chance to blast their genre defining mid-west grunge at their honeymoon venue, The O2 Forum Kentish Town. Bassist Lou Barlow was especially excited to be back;

“Our first reunion show was here, that was seventeen years ago! What the fuck man!”

I can’t blame him for his energy. It may be a Sunday night for us, but the band have only played here three times since their 2005 reunion. Plus, this tour is the first time they’ve been across the pond since live music was deemed a crime.

15 of their greatest hits featured in a setlist spanning decades of writing, all celebrated in just under two hours. They quickly get to work marking their territory, opening with the fast paced thrashy track, ‘The Lung’, then travelling back and forth from their Jurassic material right up to songs from their latest 2021 release.

Many bands from the same era simply aren’t as good to see live any more, as age slowly inhibits their ability to perform, but I’m happy to report that Dinosaur Jr aren’t going extinct just yet. Their performance was vibrant and raw, and they have excellent chemistry together on stage.

Their performance of ‘Gargoyle’ sees a nearly six minute long guitar solo at the end – as is tradition – but it was as overly long and drawn out as it could ever have been. Guitarist and vocalist J Mascis’ ideas were lacking direction, with no good arc to follow, full of lazy and cliched pentatonic licks. It was a bit of a shame, as otherwise J Mascis still has plenty of years left in his guitarist fingers. In every other song, aside from a handful of pentatonic plunks and loop pedal luck-outs, his performance was as good as the record.

To top it all off, Lou bestowed on us the secrets of their songwriting genius that lead to their debut album becoming such a hit, and launching their careers into orbit…

“We wrote a bunch of songs and they were all awesome!”

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