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Where You Been?

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on May 31, 2007 3:33PM

It seems like yesterday that Chicagoist got an excited email from a fellow Dinosaur Jr fanatic, which bore the news that one of our fav formative-years bands would be playing a three-night stand at the Abbey Pub this spring. Like an 80-degree day after a weeks of 50’s, the time is nigh and the choppin’ starts tonight.

dinosaurlive.jpgYou askin’ what the big deal is? Dino is one of those bands that means the world to a lot of people now between their mid-20s and mid-30s...and is nothing more than a silly name in front of some crunchy “alternative rock” to the rest (and, admittedly, majority) of the populace. For anyone who felt the underground shockwave of hardcore in the early to mid-80s and its repercussions through the mid 90s, Dinosaur Jr stood out as a perfect storm of driving punk rhythm, twangy country melodies, weird new wave guitar effects, and Hendrix-inspired riffs. Frontman and chief songwriter J Mascis’ blatant disregard of a cohesive aesthetic for his band was as “punk” as it got, and anyone with an ear for the unusually expressive and an appreciation for a brass set of musical balls was swallowed whole by the band’s second record, 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me.

But that was 20 years ago, and it’s an odd thing when a fan wakes up to the realization that the band that’s embodied the world-weary, aged aesthetic of disaffected young manhood and the frustratingly swift passage of time for the past 20-odd years are, in fact, now actually aged and world-weary. For all of the inter-band strife of the past two and a half decades, Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow, and drummer Patrick “Murph” Murphy wear their seasoned status well: in gathering the three far-flung original members from their various post-extinction projects (Mascis’ Witch and The Fog and Barlow’s Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion, amongst others), Dinosaur Jr has tacked together one of the best albums this year in Beyond.

To those who got it the first time around: treat your less-enlightened brethren to one of the bands that laid the groundwork for much of the music they read about on the Internet and listen to on their favorite satellite radio “indie” station.

Dinosaur Jr plays tonight at the Abbey Pub ($25 at the door). Awesome Color and the double-duty- pulling Lou Barlow open.

The Friday and Saturday shows are sold out.