If Shearwater was supposed to be the folksier, quieter band on the Dinosaur, Jr bill on Tuesday night at the Beachland, then the fact that they were loud enough to literally make your balls shake was not a good sign for those who wanted to avoid things like permanent hearing loss. Had Dinosaur, Jr’s J Mascis hijacked the sound board and pushed every slider to the very top? I wouldn’t put it past him. Behind that calm demeanor of his, almost yogi-like as he stands in front of his six-stack of amps, long and straight gray hair obscuring his eyes, lies one of the greatest guitar players of the alternative rock explosion. The man is an animal with guitar in hand, our Neil Young, grungy and loud, fast and intricate, and more than capable such a dastardly deed.

Not that J Mascis would ever admit to such a prank. Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow, and drummer Murph were workman-like in their presentation. In a packed house, only Murph’s bald head and the tips of his drumsticks were visible. Barlow, also hiding behind a generous head of hair, broke the silence twice. Once, to explain how his trip to ancestry.com revealed his roots end in Ohio and another time, before the hardcore number, “Training Ground,” to sarcastically add, “We’re olds, we can’t play as fast as we used to.” They did.

Yet, to say Dinosaur, Jr were all business is not to say, the band and their throng of fans did not enjoy themselves. Had you watched Barlow closely, you would have likely caught a goofball grin as he rocked himself back and forth in front of his own, generous stack of amps. Had you kept your eyes on Mascis, you would have seen a small smile of satisfaction as his fingers rocketed up and down the fret board during those gnarly solos on “Start Choppin’,”  “Watch the Corners,” and “Feel the Pain.” The crowd responded to those favorites, old and new, and reached a fever pitch at the end of the set for the college-rock classic, “Freak Scene.” We had a stage dive! It probably wasn’t from one of the vets in the room, or “Olds,” as Barlow likes to say, but in a crowd which spanned a wide range of ages, in a crowd who shared a love for plaid shirts and loud, rumbling guitar rock from the ’90s, it was real and a fitting way to show appreciation to a band who’ve returned from the stuff of reminiscence to enjoy a new relevance in modern times.

Dinosaur, Jr Set List – Beachland Ballroom 10.24.12

1. See It On Your Side
2. Tarpit
3. Rude
4. Almost Fare
5. Start Choppin’
6. Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know
7. Watch the Corners
8. Feel the Pain
9. What Was That
10. Budge
11. Training Ground
12. Freak Scene
13. The Wagon
14. Swan


1. Little Fury Things
2. Out There