Some bands have epic, long careers. Some bands burn bright and fizzle quickly. Some bands build a career nibbling at the edges: consistent, successful, influential, but never quite becoming household names despite their cult following. Dinosaur Jr. is a band like that, and this career trajectory fits a bunch of guys who look like they could just as easily change your oil as be a rock band.
This trio of power-punk-garage-proletariats have been at it on and off since ’84. Helping innovate the sludgy guitar and “I just put down my bong” vocal sound popularized in the ’90s, their influence can be heard in thousands of bands. If you’re wondering what their 2012 release I Bet On Sky sounds like, well, just listen to any other Dinosaur Jr. record and you’ll get the idea. These guys aren’t exactly known for range. But, despite their “We don’t give a shit” attitude, they’re tight, raucous and a guitar-lover’s rock band without succumbing to the wanker-y connotations that can imply.
On the other side of the sonic spectrum is Shearwater from Austin, Texas. Compared to Dinosaur Jr., Shearwater are relative newcomers, but they’re building a cult following in their own right. Featuring former members of Okkervil River, Shearwater plays highly polished, almost operatic songs lead by vocalist Jonathan Meiburg’s strange and melodramatic voice. Their latest release, Animal Joy, is an artistically ambitious collection of songs. Where Dinosaur Jr. let the edges fray and their hair hang unkempt, Shearwater is an acquired taste, tailored and well manicured.
Overall, it should make for an interesting night of opposites.
Shearwater opens for Dinosaur Jr. 9 pm Wednesday, Oct.11, at WOW Hall; $18 adv., $20 door.