Friday, April 15, 2005

Dinosaur Jr. Reunite

Praise the Guitar Gods, Dinosaur Jr. is back - in their original lineup!

For a certain strain of alternative rock fan, Dinosaur Jr. is and always will be the power trio of J Mascis, Emmett Jefferson "Murph" Murphy III and Lou Barlow. They blew the minds and ears of anyone who ever saw them play between 1984 and 1989 and before splintering apart, they etched the grooves of three classic noise albums: Dinosaur, You're Living All Over Me and Bug (now available on Merge with bonus videos).

Whether they intended to or not, J, Lou, and Murph forever changed the face of rock & roll music. Their sonic wall of melodic bass, furious drums and stunning guitar wizardry, coupled with an almost laissez faire vocal delivery, became the sonic blueprint for what has become known as "alternative rock."

Today, after 15 years since their last performance together, the three will reunite for U.S. and Europe summer tour dates. Confirmed dates are as follows:

U.S Tour Dates
Thur July 7 House of Blues Orlando, FL
Fri July 8 Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA
Sat July 9 The Norva Norfolk, VA
Sun July 10 Cat's Cradle Carrboro, NC
Mon July 11 9:30 Club Washington, DC
Wed July 13 Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA
Thur July 14 Central Park SummerStage New York, NY
Fri July 15 Avalon Boston, MA
Tue July 19 House of Blues Cleveland, OH
Wed July 20 Clutch Cargo's Pontiac, MI
Thur July 21 The Madison Theater Covington, KY
Fri July 22 The Eagles Club Milwaukee, WI
Sat July 23 The Quest Minneapolis, MN
Sun July 24 Lollapalooza Chicago, IL

Europe Tour Dates
Wed June 8 The Forum London U.K.
Thur June 9 The Forum London U.K.
Fri June 10 Download Festival Donnington U.K.
Fri - Sun July 29-31 Fuji Rock Fest Naeba Ski Resort, Japan

More shows to be announced. Tickets for U.S. shows on sale April 26 at
* All Ages Welcome
*** on-sale info for SummerStage and Lollapalooza TBA
** 7/24 The Quest 18 and over welcome

Look for Dinosaur Jr.'s reunion debut to be aired on CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Friday, April 15. A day later, at Hollywood's Spaceland, J Mascis + the Fog with VERY special guests will perform a full show to 300 lucky fans. The show is sold out. A handful of additional tickets will be released at the Spaceland box office day of show.

About the Reissues:
Originally released on two of the most influential independent labels of the times - Homestead and SST - Dinosaur, You're Living All Over Me and Bug will now be available on Merge to an entirely new generation of music fans. If there is any justice these recordings will be just as influential the second time around...

All three CDs have been remastered and will be reissued with original cover artwork but the new booklets will contain never-before seen images that are sure to electrify longtime fans. Bonus materials include a rare live track - "Does It Float" - which captures the power and sheer chaos of early Dinosaur shows, as well as videos for classic tracks "Little Fury Things", "Just Like Heaven", "Freak Scene" and a recently-discovered, never before seen video for "No Bones". Also included are extensive new liner notes for all three albums compiled by music writer/gadfly Byron Coley featuring interviews/commentary from Thurston Moore, Mike Watt and Robert Pollard. Acclaimed filmmaker Allison Anders also contributed liner notes for Bug.

But really, who needs extra bells and whistles? These albums contain so much raw power and melodic tension that they speak well enough for themselves, as seminal pieces of American rock and roll history.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Tea Leaf Green

Stella Blue - Albuquerque, NM
Saturday, April 9, 2005

Picture walking into a venue where you are about to witness a performance by a band you have heard much about, explored their website, and been told by a friend or two to go to the show. Imagine yourself sitting in this venue and smelling an intense aroma coming from the stage. The band are sitting in the audience enjoying a pre-concert meal, the crowd is sparse, but the fragrance is quite overpowering. Finally, it hits you.

You are about to see greatness. You will have the pleasure of telling people that you witnessed genius. You will be in awe of the talent you are laying eyes on. That's the feeling I got from watching Tea Leaf Green and, needless to say, I was not disappointed.

First, a little background. TLG was born in the mid-to-late 90s. The personnel includes Josh Clark, lead guitarist who should already be classified as one of the greats, keyboardist Trevor Garrod, the owner of a smooth set of vocal chords, bassist The Weed, who did not stop bobbing for two and a half hours, and drummer Scott Rager, who keeps the music in check. These four talented musicians make a sound that is easy to listen to, yet complex in nature.

From the opening chords of "Can You Guess It," I realized that it wasn't going to take a Ken Jennings mind to enjoy the music, but that things weren't simply going to be handed to me. Not being completely familiar with TLG's music, "Garden III," Garden II," and Garden I" would prove my theory. I had no idea where one song ended and the other began, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

The rest of the set found TLG taking me from one dimension to another, and it all flowed like a Looney Tunes fuse. They did snuff the fuse momentarily to toast the crowd during their final number of the first set "Tequila." For the second, though, the band blow up the joint.

Like Wagner's "Valkyre," they started slow - giving the audience a chance to get reaquainted with the band and its music. It didn't take them long to crank up the aptly titled "Warm Up," one of the highlights of the evening. From that point, TLG soared and, it appeared, never wanted to come back down. The audience was right there, willing and able to go on the ride.

They rambled through "Professor's Blues," which featured a rap by The Weed, "Georgie P," and "Rapture," before finishing with an incredible instrumental entitled "Gasoholic." A fitting number as the band prepared to venture out in the RV and conquer the next town.

If music is to grow, it will need adventurous acts like Tea Leaf Green to lead the way. If all we're left with is what we hear on the radio, we are truly in dire straits. Let's hope that people will discover this band, expand their tastes, and realize that there is more to music than what we hear on the radio.

On TGB ratings scale, take this show to the sun - A PERFECT 10.