Hallo, Guv’ner! It was a night full o’ decibels at the venerable Gothic Theatre.
TEXT BY TIM HINELY/ PHOTOS BY JEFFREY WEBB DAVIS
Wow, Detroit’s Easy Action, led by the legend John Brannon on vocals, opening up for Dinosaur? Excellent! The last time I saw Easy Action was in the early ‘00s, when they played on ther floor of a coffee shop in Portland at 1:00 AM. If you’re wondering whether Brannon still commands the stage with that commanding scowl that used to scare the hell out of people when he was the vocalist for the Laughing Hyenas (and before that, Negative Approach), well, think no more. The scowl is still in full effect.
Aside: In the audience this night was Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper. Out to catch some legenday, noisy rock!
The band is basically the same current lineup he has these day for N.A., with Harold Richardson on guitar, Ron Sakowski (looking like Jesus) on bass and John Lehl on drums. They blasted through a good 45 minutes of howlin’ bluesy, garage rock and sounded in fine form. They’re due for a new record, like now.
Amherst, MA’s Dinosaur Jr came back to town almost exactly a year to the day after I saw them at the Bluebird. J, Lou, and Murph are their names and rockin’ is their game. Still the loudest band on the street. They haven’t released a record since last year’s Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not, so they’re due; I thought that record was an improvement over 2012’s I Bet On Sky, the only album since they reformed that I haven’t liked.
They opened with “Thumb”—the same song they opened with last year—and then launched into a few cuts I wasn’t as familiar with (“Goin’ Down,” “Lost All Day” and “Left/Right”), but then kicked into a few fan favorites like “Feel the Pain” and “Out There.” I was also happy to hear the great “Crumble” off their first comeback record, 2007’s Beyond.
From there we heard “The Wagon” and the classic “Freak Scene” and they ended the set with an extended version of “Forget the Swan,” from their self-titled1985 debut. My ears were bleeding.
After some stomping from the crowd they came out for two encores, including “Sludgefeast” and a cover of The Stooges’ “TV Eye,” then left the stage on this brisk Tuesday evening.
It’s always a pleasure to see these guys live—especially bassist Lou Barlow, who is still such a unique bass player. (Well, J and Murph are no slouches, either, just to be fair!) See ya’ next year guys, hopefully.