Dinosaur Jr. @ Headliners Music Hall, Louisville

Dinosaur Jr., Lou Barlow and The Missingmen
Friday, October 16, 2009
Headliners Music Hall
Better than: Any experience in my life leading up to this show.

One thing I've learned about Headliners is that they really don't give a shit about your age. Although, it's not particularly a bad thing; eighteen and over shows should be banished altogether. Really, why? No one's buying beer with their little wristbands and hand stamps; no underage child is going to go home drunk. It seems that there is an unfair prejudice against people under 18, and with a band like Dinosaur Jr. arriving in town, the hate should stop here. To my absolute pleasure, it did. Eighteen or no, I got through that door.

The only downside to my experience was arriving extremely late. I missed Lou Barlow and The Missingmen's set -a total bummer because this time, I actually wanted to see the opening act. But my absence was made up for (see paragraph 4) and I believe it was well deserved. After all, who can deny the significance of flowers? Carrying a bouquet around a gig is a sure way to get noticed, at least; making friends this night was far from avoidable. It's nice being able to charm your way to the front.

Around came 9:00 and J Mascis took the stage, unnatural platinum hair swaying side to side with awkward bluesy sound checks and all. I never expected to take J for a bashful guy, but aside from mumbled thanks in between songs, he said nothing the entire set (this, of course, assuming he sang lyrics.) But modesty aside, the set list was insane. Predictably, tracks from Farm took up a good portion of the night -"I Don't Want to Go There" included an extended jam, along with a funky version of "Over It" and the record's catchy opener, "Pieces." But old school Dino fans got their treat as well. You're Living All Over Me's "Little Fury Things," Bug's "Freak Scene" and the popular "Feel the Pain" of Without a Sound were also honored. Keep in mind (for those who aren't familiar with the band) Lou Barlow is in Dinosaur Jr., even though he also produces solo work and was one of the founding members of Sebadoh. For the record, I freaking love Sebadoh. And deciding whether my bouquet should be given to J Mascis or Lou was an epic on its own. This, along with a few drunken dancing wash-ups, was my only distraction of the night.

It turns out my internal conflict was decided for me. Immediately proceeding the show, J Mascis hightailed to the tour bus and never came out, no answer to my urgent knocks and still no Lou to be seen. As with the Melvins, I figured lurking near the backside of the building was my best option, so I shot the breeze with some of Lou's old college friends, one of whom stole part of my heart.*
The whole ordeal lasted for at least two hours after the show had ended, but in the end Lou got my flowers and he wrote me a note in thanks. It was actually the first time I've had a real conversation with one of my underground heroes. And I didn't cry this time. It's not like I try to be the creepy fan chick anyway, it just comes naturally. But we'll see how long this newfound coolness fairs. Meat Puppets are hitting Headliners Nov. 17th. You bet your ass I'm there.



The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)

The Smiths were more expansive than their generic name gave away. Does it even need to be mentioned what a great duo Morrissey and Johnny Marr made? To this day, they still refuse to tarnish their legendary years in the '80s by reforming, as if anything could be done to ruin a band so flawless. With a cadence that dripped with sincerity and sex, Morrissey gave voice to a muted generation. There weren't a lot of songwriters with the huevos to speak up about such sexual and personal subject matter before him; songs from human nature to comatose girlfriends and the every day life in between.

Strangeways, Here We Come is short, barely brushing past the 36-minute mark, but you'd be a fool to underestimate how much is packed into a half-hour with The Smiths. There are jams, ballads and anti-ballads that paint a vivid picture of mundane-yet-provocative life, and as mentioned prior, they are wildly relatable with Morrissey's affection. Even from the song titles alone, there's a certain atmosphere that's dark and inviting for anyone yearning to dim the lights and take a closer look at themselves. Strangeways is introspective music at its finest.


Melvins @ Headliners Music Hall, Louisville

Melvins, Weedeater, Evil Army and Down
Monday, September 28, 2009
Headliners Music Hall
Better than
: Nearly every rock show I've ever seen.

Perhaps it's dry city for Down fans, or maybe too many people just don't like Pantera, but I was expecting sheer mayhem. Hardly anyone was risking their limbs to be up front to, at the least, catch a glimpse of Phil Anselmo or even Jimmy Bower assaulting his drums. It's one of the very few occasions where people care more about the opening act rather than the actual headliner; it was beautiful.

The Melvins graced the stage by 9:00, as promised by Coady Willis whom I had spoken to earlier while waiting in line outside. I caught him before the band was apparently going out to eat (-yeah I know! It's like they're real people too!), and fortunately he remembered me. We had previously spoke after a Big Business show and we talked about tapeworms or something; sorta eerie, but mostly exciting. Buzz came out wearing his signature suede smock/turtleneck thing, immediately breaking into the set's first song, while the band's two drummers, Dale Crover and Coady Willis, pounded ferociously on their two drum sets. Among the night's setlist was Houdini's "Hooch" and "Night Goat," along with "Billy Fish" and "The Kicking Machine" from their '07 release Nude With Boots. The audience was treated to a dose of comedy as well. Between three and four song intervals, Buzz would stop to tell some kind of obscure joke no one really understood (or at least didn't hear over ringing feedback), but we would pretend to laugh and think it's funny anyway. It's Buzz, after all.

The show was great, yada yada. But here's where it really comes down to:

The Melvins have been one* of my favorite bands, at least since 10th grade, and are probably the only artists who have survived my drastic change in apparent 'taste'. This wasn't a promotional tour. The Melvins haven't had a new album since 2008. Ultimately, this tour was for the fans, (and maybe for some money too), but more importantly, for me. So you can probably imagine my immediate reaction when I was personally escorted behind the band's tour bus. Buzz in front of me, and my arms around his neck.

I am an emotional person.

I have no other reaction except to cry.

And to think I never understood those girls in the 70's, who ripped each other's heads off in the presence of John Lennon or Paul McCartney. To me, it was part of the era, and to me it looks ridiculous. But that's just how I was to everyone else. I was the sobbing teenage girl who could barely speak, and when I did, in complete gibberish. The only issue was that I didn't care. You get so overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude that it doesn't even seem real. It's everything you've dreamed of in front of you, and you're hugging it.

I encountered Dale Crover later in the night, along with a couple dudes from Weedeater. I cried in front of them, too. Maybe it was the alcohol (I literally had 12 beers), or it could have been the Buzz overhaul still seeping in, but I couldn't stop. The only thing that really sinks in now is that it was definitely worth coming home extremely late for. I would get grounded for the Melvins any day.

*The list of artists I label as 'one' are usually considered my absolute favorite. Although, given the amount of absolute favorites I actually have, I still feel using the word 'one' lessens Melvins value to me. It's like saying Tom Waits is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. What I mean is that he actually is the greatest songwriter of all time, among others. Therefore, there's no specific way to classify something I consider to the absolute best. I just, like the Melvins...a lot.