Dinosaur Jr. - "Bug Live at 9:30 Club: In the Hands of the Fans" DVD Review (MVD Video) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dinosaur Jr. - "Bug Live at 9:30 Club: In the Hands of the Fans" DVD Review (MVD Video)

Dinosaur Jr. - 'Bug Live at 9:30 Club: In the Hands of the Fans' DVD Review (MVD Video) Last summer, Dinosaur Jr. went out on a small run of East Coast dates where they played their 1988 album Bug in its entirety. Bug was the band’s second release for SST and was the last disc to include bassist Lou Barlow prior to the band’s 2007 reunion album. Looking back, Lou Barlow reflects that the album that many fans cite as their favorite (and the disc is listed as one of the “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” was actually anti-climatic for the band. Barlow said. “In our own minds…we had already peaked, we had already become as popular as we’d ever wanted to be. The fight was over. The first two records represented getting the band over on people and not getting banned from clubs, all those torturous tours, that time was over.” In keeping with the band’s indie-rock aesthetic, Bug was reissued as a limited-edition, hand-numbered cassette last summer through Joyful Noise Recordings.

"Bug Live at 9:30 Club: In the Hands of the Fans" captures the band playing live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC on June 25, 2011. The band has come a long way in the 13 years since Bug’s original release as they were playing small and mid-sized clubs at the time (Dinosaur Jr. played The Ritz on this tour) but this time out, the band played Terminal 5 (3,000 capacity). This DVD is the second in the “In the Hands of the Fans” series and the video was shot by six contest winners under the direction of Dave Markey (who filmed Dinosaur Jr. back in 1991 for "The Year Punk Broke").

The concert portion of the disc runs just over an hour and the band plays Bug from start to finish along with “Sludgefest” and “Raisans” from You’re Living All Over Me. As to be expected, there is the bare minimum of dialogue with the audience aside for some brief ‘thank yous’ from Lou. The longest bit of dialogue is when Lou explains that he blew out his voice early in the tour and he brings a fan from Arkansas on stage to sing “Don’t”.

The bonus footage on this DVD more than doubles the overall running time of the disc. This footage includes a live performance of “In a Jar” and “The Wagon” (I believed the band opened with these tracks), an interview with Henry Rollins where he talks about the significance of the “old” 9:30 Club, backstage interview footage where the six contest winners ask the members of Dinosaur Jr. questions, and a live on-stage interview where Henry Rollins interviewed the band prior to their set. The additional live footage is brilliant but the interviews are a mixed bag and the sort of thing you will scan through or skip the second time around. The Rollins interview footage is interesting in that it is amusing to watch Hank’s obvious hero worship compared with J, who looks completely disinterested in the interview and mumbles an occasional answer. The interview footage with the contest winners is a bit more interesting as Lou gives some insightful answers about his influences and whether some of the songs on Sebadoh’s first disc were considered for inclusion of Bug. J, on the other hand, delivers some pricelessly droll responses to seemingly innocent questions.

Track List:
01. Freak Scene
02. No Bones
03. They Always Come
04. Yeah We Know
05. Let It Ride
06. Pond Song
07. Budge
08. The Post
09. Don’t
10. Sludgefeast
11. Raisans

While Lou Barlow said “I do think there are some songs on Bug where I remember we recorded them and it was like ‘No we’re never gonna do that [live], that’s too weird'", the end-to-end live performance of the album sounds great. Dinosaur Jr. can still work up a wall of melodic noise (check out the number of amps on the stage) that lessor bands can only dream of.

Dinosaur Jr.