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Negative Approach and Dinosaur Jr Members Played a Surprise St. Louis Show Last Night

J Mascis digs gear / photo by Jaime Lees

Negative Approach and Dinosaur Jr Members Played a Surprise St. Louis Show Last Night
By Jaime Lees
Wed, Mar 22, 2017

Negative Approach, Trauma Harness and members of Dinosaur Jr played a show at the Way Out Club last night. It wasn’t technically a “secret” show, but it was unadvertised and promoted primarily via word of mouth. Dinosaur Jr slayed at a sold out concert at Delmar Hall just a few days ago, so as a professional courtesy this performance at the comparatively tiny Way Out Club was to stay fairly underground.

This smaller show was organized by Jeremy Kannapell, who in addition to being a seemingly inexhaustible show booker/promoter, is also the program coordinator for New Music Circle and performs his own music under the name Ghost Ice. Kannapell started putting the word out over the weekend and by the time doors opened at the Way Out Club on Tuesday night, it was clear from the size of the excited crowd waiting outside that word had gotten around.

Dinosaur Jr bassist Lou Barlow opened the night with a quiet, sincere, beautifully delicate solo set — just him sitting on a stool with a tiny guitar. The vibe of the room changed quickly when Dinosaur Jr guitarist J Mascis took the stage with a band made up of Dinosaur Jr’s hugely talented tour crew, and they launched into a set of songs by the Stooges. (It ripped, yo.) This was followed by Negative Approach, who drenched the place with so much energy that it seemed like it might explode. The headliner for the night was local band Trauma Harness, and these future legends fit in seamlessly alongside the established greats. KDHX DJ Jeff Hess provided music between the sets.

Many attendees described this show as even better than they could’ve imagined — saying that they felt honored to witness these unique performances at such a small venue for a mere $10. It was a memorable, magical experience.

We captured this holy night for you in photographs and in video. Please enjoy below.

PHOTOS:

Dancers on stage during the Stooges set / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

Lou Barlow from the side of the stage / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

Local heroes Trauma Harness / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

Where the magic happens / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

The Way Out Club, before the show / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr soundchecks / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

This crowd was rippling like a river / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

More Lou Barlow / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

The late crowd loved Trauma Harness / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

The impossible-to-photograph Negative Approach / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

The bar was busy / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

The crowd waiting outside, just after the doors opened / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

DJ Jeff Hess spins records between sets / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr with this excellent band / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr plays a solo set / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

Bob Putnam, owner of the Way Out Club / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

John Brannon of Negative Approach at soundcheck / Photo by Jaime Lees

 

J Mascis feelin ‘it / Photo by Jaime Lees

VIDEOS:

Lou Barlow solo

J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr’s tour crew cover the Stooges

Negative Approach

Trauma Harness

Bonus footage – John Brannon of Negative Approach sings the Stooges’ “TV Eye” with Dinosaur Jr at Delmar Hall on March 19, 2017

link: Riverfront Times

Alt-Rock Royalty Dinosaur Jr Refuses to Go Extinct

Dinosaur Jr will perform in St. Louis this Sunday, March 19 at Delmar Hall. – PHOTO BY LEVI WALTON

Alt-Rock Royalty Dinosaur Jr Refuses to Go Extinct
By Jaime Lees
Mon, Mar 13, 2017

Though Dinosaur Jr is hailed by fans as one of the all-time greatest acts tied to the “alternative rock” movement, it never achieved proper mainstream success. Founded in Amherst, Massachusetts, in decidedly pre-grunge 1984, Dinosaur Jr toiled for years on the edges of the local punk scene: too out there for most people to comprehend and too weird to really fit in anywhere else.

Over time this independence has worked to the band’s favor. By not being pigeonholed into any specific scene or claimed by any one genre, it had the freedom to grow organically. Because Dinosaur Jr was the band for nobody in particular, it was eventually able to become the band for everybody. In 1990, the group went from releasing records on tastemaker labels such as SST to signing a deal with major label Sire Records. But despite minor achievements and enormous accolades, by the mid-1990s, the band had fallen apart and scattered. Singer and guitarist J Mascis continued with the band name for a couple of years, while bassist Lou Barlow went to steer Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion, and drummer Emmett Murphy (who goes by the singular “Murph” in all credits and press) started drumming in the Lemonheads.

A reunion was deemed unlikely — the members of Dinosaur Jr seemed to actively dislike each other and were notoriously unable to communicate about even basic things with any success. But Murph tells RFT that he still supported a reunion long before it actually happened — and he even had a certain notable drummer-turned-guitarist in his corner.

“I was doing the Lemonheads and I remember we played at a festival that the Foo Fighters were on,” Murph recalls. “We were hanging out with Dave Grohl and he came up to me, and he’s like, ‘Dude, you gotta get Dino back together! C’mon, dude, you gotta call those guys up!’ And I would just be like, ‘I don’t know, man, I just don’t think J is into it.’ And I would ask J every few years. I’d see him on the street and I’d be like, ‘C’mon, dude. Dino reunion.’ And he’d be kind of like Lurch from The Addams Family — he’d just kind of go, ‘Uhhh, I don’t think so.’”

By the time the original three finally reunited to tour on the reissues of their old albums in 2005, interest in the band was at an all-time high. Then the group released Beyond in 2007, its first album as a reformed unit, and the new music was brilliant. The stellar songs were classic Dinosaur Jr, in the best way — a relief to long-time fans who feared that the band might have lost its magic over the years or might screw up its legacy with attempts at a new sound.

Murph himself acknowledges the hit-or-miss aspect of reunited bands with new music. “Most bands I’ve seen get back together, they have some new direction and you’re like, ‘Oh, man, this is painful. This is bad. Like, what are you guys doing?’’ he says. “That happens all of the time.”

Many fans thought some of the Pixies reunion shows, in particular, felt like taking a knee to the family jewels. Murph is candid on the subject. “They might’ve had Kim Shattuck [of the Muffs] on bass, because I saw them a couple of times with her and it was horrible. It was so bad,” he says. “Then they got this LA woman [Paz Lenchantin] who’s this slick, like, gun-for-hire, and then it sounded so much better. I was living in LA like four summers ago, and so much music goes through there. I got to see the Breeders one weekend and Pixies the next. And the Breeders were just, head and shoulders, so much better than the Pixies. Like, I couldn’t believe how much better the Breeders were. It was such a good show. It was amazing.”

Murph likes to take in many different bands, and fans of all different types of music love his band, too: Dinosaur Jr’s brutally loud and heavy — yet frequently sweepingly melodic — music is beloved by fans of rock, psychedelic, alternative, punk, pop, prog, noise, classic rock and jam bands. But even though that’s been the case for 30 years, the band’s members are only just starting process the scope of their popularity. Murph says that he was delighted when he recently learned that Dinosaur Jr is frequently discussed online in chat rooms by fans of the band Phish.

“I was, like, totally blown away,” Murph says. “Really? We were mentioned in a Phish chat room? Because we’re kind of, like, from the punk, and that’s like the opposite. Most of the hippie jammy band kids just are not into noise or punk at all — they’re into bluegrass and folk and all that stuff. So I thought that was really funny.” Still, Murph concedes that the band has done some jam band “noodling.”

“I mean, I’m into that stuff, personally. I grew up listening to like Frank Zappa and Mahavishnu Orchestra, so I can relate,” he says. “But as a band we’ve always come from — and J and Lou are definitely from — like, thrash and oi! roots, so it always surprises me when we get crossover fans. I’m always kind of shocked.” Dinosaur Jr is currently on a tour of high-end mid-sized venues and will spend the summer playing at major festivals. Murph seems almost bashful about his group’s success, even though he remains hopeful about the future.

The band’s interpersonal relationships must be better, too. Murph explains that while touring life is often seen by outsiders as glamorous, it’s really just eight to ten people crammed onto one bus, day in and day out. In that way, he says, it’s similar to sailing, where everybody is stuck in one little area.

But what if they managed to get more buses? “If we were like Bon Jovi or something that would be great,” Murph says with a laugh. “I don’t think we’re at that level yet.”

Dinosaur Jr
8 p.m. Sunday, March 19. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Boulevard. $25 to $28. 314-726-6161.

link: Riverfront Times

Pazz & Jop 2016 – 44th Annual Village Voice Critics’ Poll

pazz-jop-2016Pazz & Jop 2016
44th Annual Village Voice Critics’ Poll

overview
the critics
my ballot

“Pazz & Jop is an annual poll of musical releases compiled by American newspaper The Village Voice. The poll is tabulated from the submitted year-end top ten lists of hundreds of music critics. Pazz & Jop was introduced by The Village Voice in 1974 as an album-only poll, but was expanded to include votes for singles in 1979.”

J Mascis – Critic’s Pick

J Mascis

J Mascis

J Mascis
Sunday, October 5
w/ Luluc
@ Off Broadway
8 p.m. | $20-$23
By Jaime Lees

Touring in support of his new solo album Tied to a Star, Dinosaur Jr frontman J. Mascis steps away from the crushing volume of his main gig to embrace a softer, gentler sound. His new songs are lo-fi — but not quite simple — mostly acoustic adventures with just a few guitar solo slips. Infused with both sweetness and sadness, these songs bring to mind other classics like Big Star’s beloved “Thirteen.” Mascis has always written about love and heartbreak, but the message is usually buried in in the overwhelming sensory explosion that is Dinosaur Jr. Here, his compositions are unadorned, bare for the world to see. They’re raw and heavyhearted, but in the best way.

– link: Riverfront Times

Pazz & Jop 2012 – 40th Annual Village Voice Critics’ Poll


Pazz & Jop 2012

40th Annual Village Voice Critics’ Poll

“Pazz & Jop is an annual poll of musical releases compiled by American newspaper The Village Voice. The poll is tabulated from the submitted year-end top ten lists of hundreds of music critics. Pazz & Jop was introduced by The Village Voice in 1974 as an album-only poll, but was expanded to include votes for singles in 1979.”

Full Circle with The Flaming Lips: 2012 In Review

Flaming Lips at LouFest. Photo by Khoolod Eid.

Flaming Lips at LouFest. Photo by Khoolod Eid.

Full Circle with The Flaming Lips: 2012 In Review
By Jaime Lees
Thu., Dec. 20 2012 at 11:54 AM

Editor’s Note: The end of 2012 is upon us (also the end of the world, if you believe in that sort of thing), so we thought we’d put a cap on things by sharing some of our personal favorite shows, albums, events and general shenanigans. Join us as we indulge in some navel-gazing!

When I write articles for RFT Music, I’m not just reporting on music happenings — I’m writing about my life. One day my priorities might change, but for now what matters the most to me is music. Maybe that’s wrong or unhealthy or something, but it’s true, and luckily most of my favorite music moments of 2012 have been documented in some way on these pages.

I’m lucky in that I have a lot of freedom in this space. It’s curated not only by people who give a crap, but by people who value what I have to offer. After seven years of writing for this publication, I’m still grateful and excited for the opportunity. I absolutely adore my job here at RFT Music. My life is my work and my work is my life, and I’m honored to share it with you.

That said, here was my life in 2012:

I rang in the New Year in Oklahoma City. My sweet old dog, Ruby, had just passed and I was in the middle of some serious grief. I ran away for the weekend to hang out with old friends and see two shows with the Flaming Lips and my spirit animal, Yoko Ono. At the stroke of midnight, I was tipsy on pink lemonade moonshine, bathed in kisses and standing inside a massive sonic blast fortified by a fog of rainbow confetti, flashing lights, jumping lasers, hundreds of bright balloons and the twinkling reflections off of a giant disco ball. The Lips played Beatles covers with Yoko and Sean Lennon and Nels Cline; it was absolute bliss and served as a strong reminder of the healing power of live music.

Flaming Lips and Yoko Ono - JAIMEVILLE.COM

I’ve been saved again and again by amazing music — most of it local. I’m a huge fan of so many of our local bands. Many people wait years for their favorite bands to tour, but for me, my favorite bands play all the time. As an extra treat, I get the opportunity to write about these St. Louis music makers: Lion’s Daughter, Prince Ea, Jimmy Griffin, Jans Project, Demonlover, Roland Johnson, Fred Friction, Nelly and the list goes on and on. I know that a lot of what I write reads as love letters to St. Louis, but I just can’t help myself — St. Louis just makes it too easy. Stop being so awesome and I’ll stop writing about you. Until then, the locals have my heart. (Extra double shout-out to people that I’m proud to call my friends, the hard-working folks at Big Muddy Records, Tower Groove Records and the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra.)

I’m not sure why, but this year I felt particularly productive. I was given space to write about music-minded locals who inspire me creatively (Dana Smith), about St. Louis music history (STL 2000) and I got to hype the touring bands that I was the most excited about (Future of the Left, R. Ring). I’m still not quite over the fact that I actually get paid to get drunk and watch Guided by Voices, to eat pizza and listen to Taylor Swift, to try to convince readers that Heart is badass, to watch classic bands like Kiss and Mötley Crüe, to review Madonna from the second row, to jump into the world of Juggalos, to get Sinead O’Connor‘s take on St. Louis (and Chuck Berry) and to praise my personal heroes like Bonnie Raitt and Henry Rollins. If you can find a girl that is luckier than me, I’d sure like to meet her.

Under the advice of my very favorite punk rock couple, I attended a show with a band I’d never heard before: I saw Useless Eaters at CBGB and it was the best damn show I saw all year. These kinds of happy accidents only occur when you actually listen to the suggestions of others, so try keep some cooler-than-you friends around.

And though I was stoked on the lineup this year at our big summer festival, LouFest, I had originally declined to do any LouFest coverage. I wanted a weekend of fun, without having to spend all night writing reviews. But there was a last-minute rescheduling and Kiernan came and found me right before Dinosaur Jr played. He needed someone to write about Dino’s set. I said sure, knowing that it would actually be easy– on some level I’d been prepared to review a Dino show for at least half of my life. Kiernan hunted down an empty beer box for me to write on and then he went back out into the crowd, off on his next mission. I found a pen, ducked under a friend’s umbrella and wrote my notes out on the cardboard. Improvising ain’t just for musicians, you know, and the Dino review turned out to be one of my favorite things that I wrote all year.

The second night of LouFest, I again found myself at the emotional mercy of the Flaming Lips live show, but this time as a participant. I danced onstage with some of my favorite people, and I absolutely rocked that slutty Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume, if I do say so myself. It was one of the best days of my life and it’s far too personal to write about here, but trust me, it was a good time and I felt absolutely smothered in love.

Since then my life and routines have gotten back on schedule, and this fall has been one great event after the last, and with the upcoming holiday season is bringing tons of shows that I’m excited about– I predict that I won’t get much sleep through the end of the year.

As for the future, who knows? I’m excited about the new crop of weirdness on the South Side. Magic City, Black James, Syna So Pro, Demonlover, Bug Chaser and Horsey Drawers have my interest right now, but nobody can predict what insanity will come in 2013. I, for one, can’t wait. Bring on the New Year. I’ll be lurking in the many venues, festivals, dark basements, loud practice spaces and fancy recording studios around town. See you at the barricades.

link: Riverfront Times

Dinosaur Jr at LouFest, 8/25/12: Review, Photos and Setlist

photo by Jason Stoff

Dinosaur Jr at LouFest, 8/25/12: Review, Photos and Setlist
By Jaime Lees Sun., Aug. 26 2012 at 11:53 AM

The Dinosaur Jr diehards moved in as soon as the Son Volt crowd moved out. Claiming rib-bruising spots against the metal crowd-control fence, they stood patiently — prepared to wait out Phantogram’s electro-beeps blazing in the distance from across the lawn. Their determination paid off an hour or so later when these fans had a front row spot to witness one of the most respected bands of the alternative era take the stage.

Dinosaur Jr regularly plays to tens of thousands at behemoth European festivals, so to see the band at a comparatively tiny outdoor concert like LouFest is a luxury. Weather conditions were questionable and thunderstorms threatened for the better part of the afternoon, but a cool breeze picked up and the rain (an annoying, but not drenching drizzle) stopped just a few minutes into Dino’s set, right after bassist Lou Barlow encouraged the crowd to chant the name of the drummer. (“Murph! Murph! Murph!”) The stagehands looked relieved and everybody stopped eyeing the thin protective plastic wrapped around the band’s massive pedal boards.

Barlow began the show with a smile and mumbled something about how he heard that rain doesn’t mix with electricity. Nearly half of the audience was busy putting in ear plugs during that moment, preparing for the massive sonic blast that was to come. Dinosaur Jr is a notoriously loud band and just because there is no roof over the venue does not mean that the crowd can escape the noise. This show, however, seemed (mercifully) quieter than some past shows, and the deafening, esophagus rattling blasts were only endured by those in the first few rows.

The generous time slot (an hour an a half, at sunset) was used in full and the crowd was showered with nothing but hits. The set began with “Thumb,” ended with “Sludgefeast” and included songs from nearly every Dino album since its self-titled debut in 1985. The band played nearly half of the songs on its 1987 classic album, You’re Living All Over Me, to the great delight of those in attendance.

As far as individual songs, the shifting tempo change in the live version of “Feel the Pain” is always interesting to hear when compared to the album version, the glow of the red stage lights during “Out There” can make one feel slightly hypnotized and “Little Fury Things” seemed to get the biggest reaction and the most enthusiastic clapping from the fans.

The LouFest crowd was also given a rare treat when the band played a cover of Deep Wound’s “Training Ground.” Deep Would was the high school band of guitarist J. Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow and the song sounded predictably punk. A joyous mini-pit broke out in front, with fans running in small circles and hug-slamming each other.

The band members, themselves, were in fine form. Murph’s drumming was on point and he got to show off a little, especially during “Feel the Pain.” J Mascis was appropriately shy and subtly funny, ducking out next to the speakers and then explaining that he had to look up the setlist on his iPhone. (And his silver unicorn hair is always a delight to see.) But the man of the day was Lou Barlow. It was LouFest, he pointed out. He killed during “Forget the Swan” and his bass provided clear and distinct thumping as he beamed and strangled the neck. He seemed to be having a great time and after his show he could even be seen standing on stage and sporting a bemused smile as he looked across the baseball fields and watched the crowd groove to Girl Talk.

Dinosaur Jr at LouFest: Setlist
“Thumb”
“The Lung”
“Back to Your Heart”
“No Bones”
“Budge”
“Training Ground” (Deep Wound cover)
“Tarpit”
“Little Fury Things”
“Out There”
“Feel the Pain”
“The Wagon”
“Freak Scene”
“Just Like Heaven” (Cure cover)
“Forget the Swan”
“Kracked”
“Sludgefeast”

link: Riverfront Times