There’s something metaphorical about the thirty-something Gen X-er, bearded but with his long hair cut off in favour of something more employment-friendly who shows up at a concert wearing his faded Dukes Devils, baggy t-shirt just about hiding a muffin-top and a hairy belly. Despite all that, I don’t care – that’s how I roll, and I like wearing all that stuff just as much as I did back in the day.

Dinosaur Junior (Dino, as my friend calls them) were already pretty well established when I first got my ear pierced and bought my first long-sleeve, but they’re a band that I know little about, and have heard precious little of. However, within the first couple of songs, I realise that they have influenced a huge number of bands that I know. One can hear parallels with their contemporaries the Lemonheads, with the core of the American grunge movement and with more than a couple of bands on Fat Wreck Chords, and the list goes on.

I was warned that this would be a loud gig, and there’s a huge amount of amplification on stage – bass player Lou Barlow has a couple of massive stacks, and Mascis has three massive Marshall stacks, with what I suspect is a JVM410C (about $2,000 of Marshall combo) as a monitor! As it goes, I find the levels pretty much perfect… with 35dB earplugs in.

I’ve never seen guitarist and singer J Mascis before; he’s super-cool, sporting long grey hair that hides his face like a veil when he’s rocking out. I feel tacitly supported in my retro choice of apparel. It’s clear that on some superficial level this is a guy who hasn’t changed much in 20 years – but who is prepared to roll with the changes that life brings, rather than dying his hair like pretty much every other ageing rocker out there (you don’t seriously believe that Bono isn’t grey by now, do you?).

However, ageing or not, Mascis and the rest of Dino are showing no signs of slowing down – the few songs they play from their new album I Bet on Sky are pretty much the most energetic material of the evening. It’s mostly on these songs, I think, when Barlow sings lead and backing vocals. He is very much up to the task, bringing a little extra variety to the set, which can often be lacking in three-piece-combos.

The last time I saw a grunge band live, it was another antique power trio Shellac at Primavera in 2011 – which was an awesome experience. There’s a lot of difference, though – the two bands are at pretty much opposite ends of the grunge spectrum; Shellac are dark and dirty and Dino are upbeat and uplifting, although they’re far from ever being twee or sappy. What does really impress me is the sheer power that these three guys churn out in every single song; it’s not surprising that drummer Murph is sweating pretty much throughout the gig. He’s been off-stage more than once by the time the band take a quick breather at the end of the set.

One thing that has passed me by since I started going to gigs is this: when did the encore (which we all know is a) obligatory, and b) the part of the show for which most bands save the songs you came to hear), the climax of an hour and a half of entertainment, when did this pinnacle of the rock concert become the bit where everyone stands near the exit so they can leave as soon as humanly possible when the lights go down? It’s a dumb way to spoil a brilliant gig for yourself.

Watching people trooping out, leaving a half-empty dance floor was like being at Old Trafford at 4:35 on a Saturday afternoon – and just like watching Manchester United, you know that the band have saved the best for last – in this case a barnstorming rocktastic exploding wall of noise. Personally, I was blown away.

Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.