Dinosaur Jr., Hate Fuck Trio and Awesome Color December 14, 2007 Ogden Theatre Better than: Reading Our Band Could Be Your Life for the tenth time.
As I stepped off Colfax Avenue, and into the Way-Back Machine of the Ogden Theatre on Friday night, I took a second to reflect on how I had come to this place -- or, more importantly -- how I'd been turned on to Dinosaur Jr., namely a mix tape given to me by my friend’s older brother, which I played over and over again. The usual suspects were on that tape (this was 1992, after all), but there was one band in particular that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I remember listening to the group's songs and assuming that the tape was warped or something. The guitars sounded corroded and that voice -- oh my god, there had to be something wrong with that tape. When I confronted my friend's brother about the faulty tape he had given me, he offered up what now seems like a perfectly reasonable response: He called me an idiot. He was right, of course, and slowly but surely, all the elements that had seemed so wrong began to make sense to me, and eventually I became a fan.
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And so, Friday night was properly turned into a celebration of crusty nostalgia on all parts, with some more steeped in it than others. Openers, Awesome Color, started off the night with a bunch of ragers that probably wouldn’t sound out of place on Fun House or Paranoid. It’s hard not to bag on the guys for their unwillingness to, say, change it up a bit and add something original to their sound. Overall, Awesome Color was unmemorable, at best.
Next up was the return of the fabled Hate Fuck Trio. It was difficult to not get in the spirit of things, what with the enthusiasm of the band and a good deal of the crowd. However, the '90s are over, and the type of tunes the Hate Fuck Trio specializes(ed) in -- potty-mouth-joke-punk that bridges the gap between the Jerky Boys and NOFX -- seemed a little dated. The band was naturally sloppy on songs like “Front Butt” and the Frantix's “My Dad's a Fuckin' Alcoholic.” And while the Trio was reliving its past glory and focused on playing to the crowd, the one thing it was missing was its own laugh track.
With the word “reunion” no longer really necessary, Dinosaur Jr. followed and played like a band on fire. Focusing intently on songs from their new album, Beyond, J., Lou and Murph’s collective ballast was a welcome respite from the collective innocuousness of the openers. The band knew when to hit the right spots, peppering the set with classics from its original run (“Freak Scene” and “Budge”), alongside a couple of numbers from when the band existed primarily as a vehicle for J. Mascis (“The Wagon” and “Feel The Pain.”), which expectedly drove me and all the other fan boys crazy. Making its presence felt with its trademark loudness, Dino proved that what it is creating now is just as important -- if not more so -- than what originally caught my ear. -- Jeremy Brashaw
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: Of the four Dinosaur Jr. shows I’ve seen over the years, this was probably the best. Random Detail: Mark your calendars; Hate Fuck Trio made it clear that it will be back in another seven years.