Preview: Dinosaur Jr. at Wonder Ballroom, 2.11 & 2.12

Photo credit: Cara Totman / Pitch Perfect PR

FFO: Sebadoh, Nirvana, Built To Spill, Sonic Youth, The Lemonheads

This weekend, legendary indie-rock band Dinosaur Jr. take to the stage (no doubt with lofty stacks of amps flanking them) for two nights at Wonder Ballroom as they journey down the west coast in support of their latest album, last year’s Sweep It into Space. Dinosaur Jr.’s story is no stranger to tumult, yet the sessions for this newest release experiencing a delay due to a pandemic was a fresh challenge even these seasoned veterans. Despite the testing circumstances of its birth, Sweep It into Space feels subtly uplifting, mixing the band’s tendency towards thick, powerful guitars with drifting, almost ethereal atmosphere, allowing the album to wrap itself gently around the listener.

The video for ‘I Ran Away’ from Sweep It into Space

Dinosaur Jr. was formed in Amherst, MA, in 1984 by J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph. The band’s work mixed indie-rock influences with the harsher edges of what would become known as grunge, building a reputation for their loudness and guitar solos. Despite some initial success, tensions between Mascis and Barlow were always present and boiled over during the recording of their third album, 1988’s Bug. Songs such as ‘Freak Scene’ were big commercial successes, but Mascis’ level of creative control was causing tension. Mascis conspired with Murph to kick Barlow out of the band (Barlow went on to form Sebadoh, writing several songs attacking Mascis such as ‘The Freed Pig’). Dinosaur Jr. continued to record and tour without Barlow, although Murph also left the band in 1993 after the release of Where You Been.

The lyrics from ‘Freak Scene’, Bug’s lead single, reference the relationship between Music and Barlow

For a number of years the band continued as Masics’ project, but behind the scenes the bad blood between Mascis and Barlow was slowly beginning to ebb away. Indeed, Mascis started to attend Sebadoh shows thus showing his appreciation for Barlow’s work and leading Barlow to re-evaluate his impressions of Mascis. In 2005, the original line-up reunited, touring and releasing Beyond in 2007. Sweep It into Space is the 5th album of the band’s reunion, and perhaps their best since that rift was finally healed.

Tickets for Dinosaur Jr. at Wonder Ballroom on Friday 2.11 and can be found here, and tickets for Saturday 2.12 can be found here; support from Pink Mountaintops.

Proof of full vaccination or negative covid test and mask required for entry.