Dinosaur Jr. Delivers 'Intimate,' Earth-Shattering Show at Grog Shop

Concert Review


Following the abrupt and unfortunate cancellation of Mastodon's fall tour (and their show at the Agora), Dinosaur Jr., slated as the opener, announced the following day that they would be presenting "some special intimate performances" in mid-September. For Cleveland heads, that meant a surprise booking at the Grog Shop. It was immediately noted among the local connoisseurs of ear-bleeding country as a show not to be missed.

And, indeed, if you know, you were there.

This was a sold-out affair, and the atmosphere in the crowd was just terrific. Most people made the right call in bringing six-packs of industrial-grade ear plugs. Dinosaur Jr. is just an unbelievably loud band; it's their calling card, and this fact begs the question of what is meant by the word "intimate." Relative to what, exactly?

With a fine one-two punch to open in "The Lung" and "Goin Down" — old- and new-school Dino onstage, in an emotional rush — the band settled into its natural path. J Mascis, surrounded by Marshall cabs and relaxing into the groove, visually balanced the frenzy of Lou Barlow's head-bobbing bass chords and excellent mop of curls. In between the poles, Murph pounded away at the drums and carried the band's heart and soul into the band's best showing in Northeast Ohio in the past few years.

"Watch the Corners" into "Feel the Pain" was a highlight, although it's hard to even pinpoint certain peaks in last night's show. The songs bled into one another sweetly and madly; there were no true segues, but the guys crafted a tight setlist that worked wonderfully. Sound swirled as a monolith; it was almost too obvious to think of a hurricane, battering the corner of Euclid Heights and Coventry.

After drawing from their expansive catalog, the band pulled out some serious insanity for the encore. John Brannon from opener Easy Action returned to the stage to scream his way through The Stooges' "TV Eye." The pit up front, which had been gathering steam and intensity all night, burst into a rousing frenzy to close the evening's awesome show.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.