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Dinosaur Jr., , Clinic at The Forum Review

Dinosaur Jr @ The HMV Forum
The extraordinary and unexpected renaissance of Dinosaur Jr continues apace with the release later this month of a new album, Farm. It is the band’s second collection recorded since the original line-up of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph reconvened in 2005, more than 20 years after they first got together in Amherst, Massachusetts. Any lingering doubts that the passage of time might have lessened this fabled trio’s taste for playing at heroic extremes of volume were quickly dispelled at the Forum, where the group performed as part of a short season of shows to celebrate Mojo magazine’s annual “Honours List” awards. Mascis, once characterised as the prototype slacker and then the “godfather of grunge”, looked much the same as he ever did, except that his long, lank hair has now turned completely grey. He stood in front of a towering enclosure of amplification equipment, incorporating six 4 x 12 Marshall cabinets arranged in a semi-circle around his head, while at his feet sat a monstrous floor console containing every effects pedal known to the modern guitar hero. As the band set off on the comparatively measured, mid-tempo riff of Tarpit, he tweaked the controls on each of three amps in a clockwise direction. To his left in a pool of shadow, the bald Murph thrashed away at his kit, while Barlow played bass with a heavy, hyperactive strumming technique that recalled the style of Lemmy, from Motörhead. With Mascis singing in a fragile, world-weary croak that was frequently overwhelmed by the torrential noise of the back line, they played a selection that included only one number from the new album, I Don’t Wanna Go There, a typical combination of appealing indie-rock melody and brutish guitar grandstanding that sent the kids in the moshpit in front of the stage into a frenzy. Older fans nodded along appreciatively from the comparative safety of the balcony as Barlow took over the vocals for his own compositions Back to Your Heart and Forget the Swan, the latter a track from the very first Dinosaur Jr album, released in 1985. It was a monumental, if somewhat exhausting, display that confirmed that this is one reunion with plenty of fuel left in the tank. David Sinclair

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