"I feel OK
Sure I know that's not what people say.
Maybe they're wrong
Maybe you weren't on my side all along."
We were greeted at first with the presence of the legendary Henry Rollins from the balcony, who told a stirring story of going to concerts as a young teen with fellow future punk legend Ian MacKaye, first to arena rock shows like Led Zepellin and other (crap) bands that they thought were OK but then, magically, to smaller shows in smaller venues with unknown punk bands where they could stand up close to the band and be engrossed in the sound. MacKaye would go on to form DC hardcore band Minor Threat and later the legendary Fugazi, Rollins would front hardcore punk band Black Flag and later the Henry Rollins Band, and he implored the audience to keep going to shows, to defy the terrorists (and frightened Republican politicians and their pants-wetting followers) to continue supporting this communal experience of listening as one to a group of musicians rocking out with the speakers at full volume, celebrating life instead of being afraid of living (I'm paraphrasing but I was inspired, thanks Henry). And he said to keep supporting bands like his contemporaries Dinosaur Jr., who bounded onto the stage in original formation (J, Lou, and Murph) to play, in order, the 11 tracks off the 30-year old Dinosaur album.
After a weird and admittedly not very pleasant sitar arrangement with special guests Andrew Labrecque and (comedian) Todd Barry (oddly), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) -- who I just saw a week ago at Webster Hall during a multi-band show celebrating Ground Control Touring's 15 year anniversary (god, we're all getting old) -- Lee came out to assist on "Little Fury Things" (the first track off You're Living All Over Me) and the night really got rolling. Other guests for the night included Bill Janovitz of the aforementioned Buffalo Tom singing "Tarpit"; Thalia Zedek singing "Feel the Pain" (as she did on the original) and Tiffany Anders on "Get Me", as she did on the original. Famed indie producer / guitarist Don Fleming joined for an amazing version of "The Wagon" -- "the first ever live attempt" to reproduce the single version, which Don played guitar on (Lou was gone when "The Wagon" was made -- the first post-Lou Dinosaur Jr track), and a second drummer Jay Spiegel (of Gumball) also contributed. It was a definite highlight of the night.
I don't have a full setlist. I think they played "Sludgefest" and I know they played "Freak Scene" (!) and they played their cover of "Just Like Heaven" and their encore was an "all hands on deck" rendition of a sped-up "Cortez the Killer" from Neil Young. It was a truly memorable show at the greatest live rock venue in the world, or at least in NYC (the Bowery Ballroom). I missed Friday's second show in the residency due to an illness that has finally passed, so I was real glad I was able to make it Monday night.
Below is some video from the show.
And Brooklyn Vegan has a whole lot more.