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Dinosaur Jr., Uncut & Awesome Color @ Club Soda, June 9th, 2007

Posted by MP / June 10, 2007

First up was Awesome Color, who seemed to have willfully ignored everything that has happened in rock music since the late 1960s. With primal, almost tribal, drumming – not the watered-down “worldbeat” kind, but the heart and temple pounding kind – and simple yet efficient arena rock riffs, these folks helped remind everyone that there is no room for laptops and sequencers beside a wall of Marshall stacks.

The best part was when Dinosaur Jr. joined them for the last song, with J and Lou playing from the sides of the stage and Murph pounding away directly behind AC’s drummer. I later asked the merch guy if the song was a cover and he said, “No, J just really likes that song.” Great, then! Speaking of merch, I will remember this band as Awesome Cover, because their record art was the trippiest and most colourful thing I’ve seen in a very long time.

Then came Uncut. These guys Hard Rocked in the traditional sense, with both guitarists and the bassist trading off vocal duties, to generally unspectacular effect. They had one song that started off with some Clayton Park-era Thrush Hermit dueling guitars, at which point my ears perked up, but it was not to last. Towards the end of their unremarkable set, one of the singers was screaming “This is the new violence!” and I found myself thinking, “If you say so, man. But you’re still just playing some plain old rock.”

And then, among deafening cheers of anticipation, the Original Three stepped up and delivered! Starting off with the 1-2-3 punch of “Almost Ready” (the first song off the new record), the classic “Budge” (off of Bug) and the excellent “Back to Your Heart” (the first of two songs written and sung by Lou on Beyond) I was able to convince my eardrums that this was worth the abuse I was subjecting them to, though they have nonetheless been ringing their discontent since I stepped out of the venue last night.

The one thing I regret is having seen this go down at Club Soda, which has the acoustics of an empty metallic grain silo. At any rate, J-L-M spent the remainder of the evening playing selections from their 22-year-spanning discography, and as has been remarked pretty much everywhere else, their most astounding feat is to have written a new record that blends in perfectly with their much-loved classic material. In fact, it felt more like 1992 than 2007 in there, the evening being filled with stage dives (?) and crowd surfing (!?), both of which I believed to be long extinct.

And then there’s the guitar solos. His long white mane swaying as he rocked back and forth, J kicked into display after display of melodic virtuosity, while Lou strummed power chords on his bass and Murph pummeled the skins like an irate caveman. Some people might believe that you can't trust anyone over thirty to still be able to rock out, but last night, Dinosaur Jr. proved otherwise.

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