Upcoming Concert Reviews of Dinosaur Jr., Widespread Panic and More...

More Concerts of Note

Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr. with Love As Laughter and Jason Loewenstein

Thursday · Madison Theater

In the insightful, unfortunately titled Independent Film Channel rockumentary, Punk: Attitude, several of the assembled pundits offered up the insight that when Punk re-exploded with Nirvana in the early '90s, most mainstream magazines and media acted as if nothing had happened in "Punk" since the mid-'80s. But, in fact (as the pundits point out), Nirvana received the ultimate reward for over a decade's worth of work from independent, underground musicians, toiling away in shitty dives across the globe with no spoken aspirations to become "Nirvana-big." One of those underappreciated acts that cleared a path for Kurt and Co. was Dinosaur Jr., who were featured prominently in the 1992 Sonic Youth-fueled road doc, 1991: The Year Punk Broke, which chronicled the indie scene just prior to when Nevermind all but destroyed it (don't worry, it rebuilt itself successfully). With raw, loud and lackadaisical Pop songs that sounded like Neil Young filtered through a trucker-speed-and-malt-liquor binge, Dinosaur's singer/guitarist J. Mascis created most of his best music in the band's start-up phase, along with bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph. When Merge Records re-issued the band's first three seminal albums (all first released before the end of the '80s and the only to contain the band's initial incarnation), it seemed the perfect time for the original lineup to get back together. Well, it seemed that way if you had absolutely no familiarity with Dinosaur's fractious past. With legendary head-butting on par with most any great Rock & Roll bust-up (see Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life for the sometimes violent, usually passive-aggressive details) and post-break-up shit-talking (Mascis kept the Dino train rolling with different members through the mid-'90s), the chances of the original members reconvening for lunch seemed farfetched at best. A worldwide reunion tour appeared to be only some Indie Rock blogger's wet dream, as likely as, say, the Pixies getting back together. Now, with the Pixies earning major bank for their reconstitution and the Merge re-issues deserving more than just a couple press interviews, Mascis, Murph and Barlow are sharing the stage once again, showing a new generation their vast influence on modern "Alternative" and "Indie" music. Early reports from the band's live return make it sound promising, with most reviewers commenting on the tight musical camaraderie and every last one of them commenting on the band's lingering penchant for louder-than-God volume.

Fans needn't get too excited about the reunion — Mascis recently told The Village Voice that he found the idea of recording new Dinosaur material "ridiculous." Which, of course, is what most would have called the idea of these three musicians sharing a stage together again. Joining Barlow's partner in his post-Dino band, Sebadoh, Jason Loewenstein, as an opening act is the Pacific Northwest's Love As Laughter, supporting their stellar Sub Pop release, Laughter's Fifth, a timeless slab of vintage (but not retro) Rock & Roll that, like Mascis' music, man-handles classic Rock and Folk and squeezes new life out of and into it. (Mike Breen)

moe. with The Allman Brothers Band

Wednesday · Riverbend

New York and the East Coast in the late '80s/early '90s was a particularly fertile place and time to put a band together, and the Jam community will forever be thankful for whatever alignment of the planets led to the resultant bounty. The Funk/Rock fever of the Spin Doctors, the Blues/Pop drive of Blues Traveler and, from further up the country, the Jazz/Rock mania of Phish all helped to define the period and the area. The Jam crowd gained another able proponent with the formation of moe., a revolving quintet made up of students attending the University of Buffalo, including founders Rob Derhak on bass and vocals and Chuck Garvey on vocals and guitar. Originally tearing up the party circuit in Buffalo as Five Guys Named Moe, the fivesome shortened their name, recorded a pair of demos and hired transcendent guitarist Al Schnier in the banner year of 1991. By the time the band recorded 1992's Fatboy, moe. had begun to incorporate more improvisation into their Zappa-meets-the-Allman-Brothers freak outs. Over the subsequent years, moe. went through drummers with almost Spinal Tap-like frequency, but wound up signed to Sony in 1996 for their major label debut, No Doy. By 1999, moe. had started to hone their songs into more conventional structures in the studio while still exploring the edges of their live presentation. The band was soon dropped by Sony but took the opportunity to start their own label, Fatboy Records, and released the double-live L, kicking off an unprecedented series of concert recordings over the next six years, including four volumes of the Warts and All collection and three editions of Instant Live, all of which were triple disc sets. Moe.'s two most recent studio recordings, 2000's Dither and 2002's Wormwood, were both hailed critically as evidence of the band's expansive new attitude toward their work. Moe. continues to tour relentlessly, recording most shows for release somewhere, whether it's fan-recorded and distributed gigs, their recent appearance at the Bonnaroo Festival or their upcoming "moe.down 6" weekend in New York. From the start, it's been obvious — moe. doesn't make fans, they make friends. (Brian Baker)

Widespread Panic with Drive-By Truckers

Tuesday · Riverbend

Maybe it's the Ben Gay and Rogaine talking, but it doesn't seem all that long ago that Widespread Panic was considered one of the rising young bands within the Jam community. And yet there's no getting around the fact that the Panic began its incredible run in the hallowed atmosphere of Athens, Ga., 23 years ago, as the brainchild of vocalist John Bell and guitarist Mike Houser, who played as a duo during their college stint in 1982. Bassist Dave Schools made it a trio in 1983 and the group was dubbed Widespread Panic; after the band's first single, "Coconut Image," in 1986, the line-up was fleshed out with the arrival of keyboardist John Hermann, percussionist Domingo Ortiz and drummer Todd Nance. Within two years, the Panic was getting rave notices for their Jazz/Roots spin on Southern Rock and their independently released debut, Space Wrangler, which ultimately led to the band's signing with Capricorn and their eponymous 1991 album. Like their compatriots in the Jam circle, the Panic made their bones as a ferocious live entity, touring ceaselessly and garnering new fans at every stop; their appearances on the H.O.R.D.E. tours in the early '90s were among the Jam tour's highlights. The Panic continued to release quality studio work throughout the '90s, including a fascinating side collaboration with singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt that they christened Brute for the 1995 masterpiece, Nine High a Pallet. The Panic remained a tour favorite while releasing an album a year for seven consecutive years, including the band's first live album in 2000. But the Panic was shaken to the core with Houser's 2002 cancer diagnosis; after leaving the summer tour to return home, he passed away in August 2002 at the age of 40. In true Rock fashion, Houser made it well known that his last wish was that his friends carry on, and with new guitarist George McConnell joining in 2003, the Panic has done just that, road dogging as hard as ever, releasing two live albums (the triple Live from the Classic City with Houser from 2000 and last year's Night of Joy with McConnell, taken from their Ball tour) and handling the finishing touches on Houser's acoustic solo album, Door Harp. Today, with Phish gone, they stand as the pinnacle of Jam bandom — locally, the Panic has outgrown (i.e., sold out) every venue they'd traditionally play (thus the amphitheater headlining gig), and nationally this summer they've warranted headlining slots at the recent Bonnaroo and upcoming Lollapalooza festivals, two of the biggest musical events in the country. For the past two decades, Widespread Panic has displayed an extraordinary amount of class, talent and grace in getting to this point in their impressive career. Long may they run. (BB)

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