Friday, 23 October 2015

50 songs to take to my grave #40: Freak Scene

Back in June, Adam wrote the following about Dinosaur Jr.'s definitive moment Freak Scene: "J Mascis’ guitar sound is brilliant - controlled but chaotic, spinning distorted notes off all over the place. His vocals are resigned, almost bored to tears with the whole thing. Post-indie punk, pre-grunge, with a pop tune. And swearing too." It's a perfect description.

I really don't recall when or where I first heard Freak Scene, but I probably loved it right away. I've never changed my opinion. Whenever it crops up on a playlist in the car I crank the volume up and holler: "Just don't let me fuck up will you / 'Cause when I need a friend it's still you."

Few bands represent 'indie' like Dinosaur Jr., and if 'indie' should have a theme song, there are few better contenders than Freak Scene. They were pretty dysfunctional as a band and they sounded it. Sometimes that weird chemistry just works in the most unpredictable way and the results are pretty startling. Mascis signs off by drawling: "What a mess." Indeed. What a beautiful mess.



Soundtrack:

Adam posted the original video for this, so I'm going to give you a couple of live clips instead. This first one is taken from the 1991 tour the band did with Nirvana and Sonic Youth. Great performance, great crowd:


 
This one is from a festival in 2008 - a full 20 years after Freak Scene's release. Another really good performance, but a terrible, terrible crowd who were clearly only there to see the Foo Fighters:




3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the nod of the head Robster.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Totally agree Robster and Adam, a brilliant record. I wonder how many nightclub indie/alternative nights were called Freak Scene? The one I used to frequent in Leicester was.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Definitely a song to take you to the grave. And the song works even better in live versions. I remember watching Dinosaur Jr. live as a support act for Gun Club.

    ReplyDelete