LIVE REVIEW: Dinosaur Jr, Redd Kross, Royal Headache @ The Hi-Fi, Sydney 16/03/13

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by Chris Familton

Royal Headache have scored a few international supports but this was the best fit by far as their melodic, hardcore inspired brand of music shares many traits with the night’s headliners. Their sound translated well to a larger stage and venue and the crowd response was enthusiastic. They dispatched each song with their usual taut rush and energy, deciding on the spot what they would play next and mixing things up between the now well trodden Honey Joy, Down the Lane and Psychotic Episode and newer tracks that suggest their sophomore album should be as good as their excellent debut.

Redd Kross were the odd ones out on the bill as they took showmanship to a new place with high kicks, pouting and preening stage moves and a real sense of genuine fun. They showcased a clutch of songs from the recent album Researching The Blues including the title track, single Stay Away From Downtown and Uglier with the McDonald brothers showing just how to marry garage rock, Kiss-styled glam rock and chiming Beatles-esque power pop harmonies. The biggest cheers came for the classic Jimmy’s Fantasy and the gonzo epic rock of set closer Crazy World. Redd Kross know how to entertain and they play the cliche game to the hilt but musically it is hard to resist.

Dinosaur Jr have toured here a bunch of times and you always know exactly what you’ll get from J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph. As per the script they gave us the highlights of the new record (Watch The Corners, Rude, Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know) and some of their landmark moments from their extensive back catalogue. Sonically Mascis’ guitar sounded superb from the opening fuzz drenched chord but at times the mix seemed to drop away when he stepped back into one of his trademark solos leaving a gap in the middle of the sound. It was only a minor distraction though as the crowed lapped up perennial favourites like The Wagon, Out There, Feel The Pain, Just Like Heaven and Freak Scene. They even ventured back 31 years to play a song from Mascis and Barlow’s first band Deep Wound. It wasn’t their most thrillingly visceral show we’ve seen but Dinosaur Jr showed they remain an essential and relevant band, unique in the way the combine melody, energy and noise.

this review was first published in The Drum Media / themusic.com.au

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