Dinosaur Jr.: Chocomel Daze (Live 1987) [Album Review]

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Dinosaur Jr.
Chocomel Daze (Live 1987)
Merge Records [2012]

Fire Note Says:  Celebrate 25 years of You’re Living All Over Me with Chocomel Daze, a rare live show from that era!

Album Review: Merge is releasing Chocomel Daze to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Dinosaur Jr’s landmark release, You’re Living All Over Me. Recorded in 1987 at Dorrnroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands on November 19, whilst on tour for You’re Living All Over Me, Chocomel Daze finds J, Lou and Murph in fine form.  I like this new trend of legendary indie bands going into the vaults to release “authorized bootlegs”, (Don Caballaro just released an excellent show as well) I hope more bands follow suit.

What was most revelatory for me personally were the ripping versions of tracks off of the first album, which is admittedly the most overlooked of the three original albums by the “classic lineup”. In fact, 5 of the 11 tracks on this album are from that first lp. “Does it Float” has that classic loud/quiet/loud dynamic that I always love. Here the band sounds like a young Nirvana, tearing though songs off of Bleach.  “Repulsion” shows that the classic Dinosaur sound was evident and fully formed from the get go; J gives a classic performance both vocally and on his guitar. Hearing the band live, it’s remarkable to hear him pull this all off. His guitar parts are intricate, and he nails all the solos on this one. All in all, the 5 songs from the first album come across even better than they did in the studio.

Most listeners will be more familiar with the songs from You’re Living All Over Me and these performances do not disappoint. “The Lung” is one of my favorite tracks of all time, and the guys absolutely nail it. “Raisins” is also perfect, as is “Sludgefeast”. The guitars crunch and soar, and the drums kick it.

A few things keep this album from being a definitive live document of this band. J’s vocals are buried in the mix. Lou’s bass isn’t very crisp, and Murph’s drums sound like they were recorded in a bucket. In short, this sounds like a bootleg, although, it’s a great bootleg! I can see this being too lo-fi for some listeners, but to my ears, it sounds pretty damn good. This one isn’t for newcomers to the band, but if you are a longtime fan, you will be delighted to have this show.

Key Tracks: “The Lung”, “Sludgefeast”, “In a Jar”

Artists With Similar Fire: Pixies / Nirvana / Sonic Youth

Dinosaur Jr. Website
Dinosaur Jr. Facebook
Merge Records

-Reviewed by Kevin Poindexter

Kevin Poindexter
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