Three Bands. One Night

We have all heard the phrase that a band was so loud it made someone’s ears bleed, but few bands can actually live up to that description.  On September 27, 2008, two bands did just that and then some.  These two bands were none other than the Meat Puppets and Dinosaur Jr.  Both legendary acts coalesced in support of the main act, Built to Spill. Fans of all three bands gathered at Boston’s beautiful Orpheum Theatre to witness a fabulous night of passionate songs, long guitar solos, and heavy distortion. 
The Meat Puppets were the first to hit the stage and they did so in typical Meat Puppets fashion: the trio nonchalantly walked on the stage, picked up their instruments, and went straight into their first number without any interaction with the audience.  The band offered tunes from all eras of their career; however, they mainly focused on songs from their 1980s catalog.  “Lost,” “Plateau,” “Lake of Fire,” and “Up On the Sun” were some of the many classics heard during their set.  Perhaps the band’s key element is its musical diversity.  As always, the Meat Puppets strongly blended Punk Rock, Country, Noise Rock, and Pop, amongst other genres; often shifting from a slow country ballad to a loud, fast, feedback-driven rocker.  One song directly followed the other, without any pauses in between; they simply seeped into each other.
Following the Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr. carried the torch and put up a worthy competition.  In complete contrast to the Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr. entered the concert in typical rock star fashion: Singer/Bassist, Lou Barlow screamed at the top of his lungs, “We’re Dinosaur Jr. and we’re from Boston!”  If people  thought the Meat Puppets were loud, then they were in for a real treat with Dinosaur.  It’s no surprise that many concertgoers often testify that Dinosaur was the loudest band they had ever seen.  Singer/Guitarist, J Mascis was surrounded by upwards of six amplifiers and he certainly used all of them!  One can honestly say, with no hyperbole, that Dinosaur Jr. left me with permanent ear damage.  Over this entire clamor, one could hear various songs from their legendary late 80s to early 90s era; these include, but certainly are not limited to “Little Fury Things,” “Out There,” and “Feel the Pain.”  The trio finished the set with a cover of the Cure’s famous, “Just like Heaven.” It seemed that Dinosaur Jr. garnered the greatest admiration from the audience.  Fellow concertgoer, Glen Maganzini, stated, “Dinosaur Jr. was the better of the three bands. The sheer loudness and length of v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} b\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} 285 7772400 10058400 259 261 257 280 262 283 1 0`````````````````````` 5 286 False 0 0 -1 304800 243 True 128 77 255 3175 3175 70 True True True True True 282 134217728 1 7 -9999996.000000 -9999996.000000 8 Empty 6710886 10066329 13421772 13421772 16711680 10027110 16777215 4 Black & Gray 22860000 22860000 (`@````````` 267 263 5 their guitar solos trumped the other two acts..” The main act, Built to Spill presented a laid back, mellow set that could help some fans rest after the two earsplitting openers.  BTS were able to captivate their audience, without playing as loudly or fast as their predecessors.  The band played a strong set of catchy tunes from all over their career, concentrating mainly on more recent songs.  On the other hand, they played their classic, “Car,” from 1994 with the entire crowd enthusiastically singing along with the band.  Many critics have commented that singer, Doug Martsch has an “awkward,” but very catchy voice.  On this particular evening, however, with the Meat Puppets and Dinosaur Jr., awkward singers were commonplace.  In fact, Martsch has constantly cited DJ singer, J Mascis as a major influence, though more specifically for his guitar playing.  Overall, the show proved to be tremendously entertaining and enduring.  On such a rare occasion does one have the privilege of seeing three legendary, distinct bands all under one roof.  The diversity in the crowd was also a notable factor; there were fans from all age groups: teens, twenties, thirties, and even forties.  I think Glen said it best, “It was an excellent show, in fact, one of the best I've ever attended. All three bands performed spectacularly; never at one point did I feel that a song was draggy or boring.”