Review: Dinosaur Jr. @ SWX

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The Alternative Rock titans bring monolithic riffs, face melting solos and 90s nostalgia to Bristol’s SWX.

As a sea of angsty teenage slackers and cool hard rocking dad’s assembled upon Bristol’s SWX, suddenly a trail of long white hair sauntered onto the stage. It could only be Dinosaur Jr’s iconic singer and legendary guitarist, J Mascis. The wise alt rock wizard who’s behind the monolithic distorted riffs and soul destroying solos that Dinosaur Jr are best known for.

In a seemingly transcendent and hazy state, Mascis offered a languid ‘Hello’ as he entered the stage. Almost in stark comparison to the entire audience who roared in appreciation. A man of few words he might be, but Mascis more than makes up for that with a sucker punch of heavy distortion, electrified charge and scintillating solos.

Happy birthday @jmascis! 📷 by @otisserie

A post shared by Dinosaur Jr. (@dinosaurjr) on

The band instantly unleash SWX into a heap of sweaty adorning bodies. The band open with crunching and gnarly renditions of ‘Goin Down’ and ‘Watch the Corners’. As a result, chaos ensues around the front barricades, with a countless number of mosh pits breaking out within the crowd.

This provided possibly the perfect image of Dinosaur Jr. now in 2018. The band still proving to be at the top of their game, despite being 11 albums, one breakup and 34 years in the business of chaotic, visceral and fuzz infused alternative rock.

As the set draws to its mid section, Dinosaur Jr. delve into their ever strong back catalogue for a sweat inducing and utterly devastating few minutes of 90’s nostalgia. A section which by far proved the standout moment of the band’s successful Bristol return. A trio of ‘Feel The Pain’, ‘Out There’ and ‘Get Me’ sparked a deafening reaction from the crowd.

With the audience throwing themselves into mosh pits with reckless abandon and clenched fists being raised into the air, one would not have been surprised if Bristol had suddenly travelled back in time to 1994. While J Mascis's long grey hair might suggest otherwise, the band’s vehement energy and anarchic dose of Alt Rock has hardly changed. The band’s timeless appeal is cemented by another 90’s favourite, ‘Start Choppin’ off the album, ‘Where You Been’, which proved the highlight of an incredible evening of guitar heaven.

If Dinosaur Jr’s place as one of the most influential acts in alternative rock needed any more proving, their eagerly anticipated Bristol show was no exception. With a combination of heavily distorted fuzz, face melting solos and a Neil Young esque howls, J Mascis and Co. blew the roof off SWX and firmly held onto their title as alternative rock titans.

If I could take anything away from Dinosaur Jr’s live experience, it will be to prepare to have your ears ringings for days and days afterwards. With lead axeman, J Mascis, encircled by four stacked Marshall amplifiers, it only meant one thing - and that was loud.

Featured image: Facebook / Dinosaur Jr.


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