Dinosaur Jr at the Neptune Theatre, Seattle

From behind a megalithic stack of Marshall amps, the legendary alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr. (J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph) emerged to perform Where You Been in its entirety - along with a few bonus songs -as part of their 30th anniversary tour commemorating the seminal album’s release. The band who carved a deep notch in music history with their matchless mixture of distorted thrash, punk, and rock blended with a smidge of screamo-country immediately tore into the album’s lead single, “Over There.” The mammoth sprawl of sound made by Mascis’ distinctive guitar tones, Barlow’s booming bass, and Murph’s intricate blows reverberated off the Neptune Theatre’s historic walls and signaled that Dinosaur Jr. was ready to shred, groove, and blast out beats for the duration of the set. 

Mascis turned away briefly and - to the sold-out crowd’s delight on the second of two back-to-back shows- brought out his signature sparkle-purple Fender Jazzmaster. After a bit of fine-tuning and noodling off a couple of riffs, the cerebral “wall of sound” guitarist proceeded to lean into the catchy screamed out tenor of one of Dinosaur Jr.’s most well-known songs, “Start Choppin.” Fans seated in the balcony area shouted down to “Lou!!! and “Murph!!!!” as the band continued their set with the soft and loud notes of “What Else is New” followed by the screech and boom of “On the Way.” Mascis kept his stoic stature while Barlow and Murph performed with a more dynamic hair-flailing, sticks-flying flair for the duration of the set that included songs from Dinosaur Jr.’s other eras – the sweetly melodic “Garden” sung by Barlow from 2021’s Sweep It Into Space, and the heavy dissonance of “Sludgefeast” from 1997’s You’re Living All Over Me. The wide variations of sounds and style in a live setting crystallized what makes the trio’s music so magical – it’s genuine. 

The band wound down the show with a regular who’s-who of musical guests, as Dinosaur Jr. made a point to do on most stops of their commemorative tour. On this night, Seattle’s second show, the trio brought up Matt Gervais and Charity Rose Thielen of Head and the Heart for a cool rendition of “Been There All the Time,” followed by Jessica Dobson of Deep Sea Diver for a beautifully brutal performance of “Feel the Pain.” The musical guests from Seattle could have continued for several shows – the band’s first night included Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron, and Dave Matthews. Despite being able to conjure up such heavy hitters in the music world, Dinosaur Jr. sealed up the set as they do best, on their own. A flanged-out “Freak Scene” from 1988’s Bug and a formative cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” (rumored to be frontman Robert Smith’s favorite version of the song) officially ended the evening.  The alt-rock icons disappeared behind the stacks, but the echoes of their epic show remained.  


Out There

Start Choppin

What Else Is New

On the Way

Not the Same

Get Me



Goin' Home

I Ain't Sayin’




Been There All the Time 

Feel the Pain 



Freak Scene

Just Like Heaven (The Cure)