There are few bands that necessitate the fervor that rock legends, The Replacements generated last week when it was announced that the reconstituted band would play the 525 capacity Harvard Square venue, The Sinclair, as part of Converse Rubber Tracks Boston. Add Massachusetts beloved Dinosaur Jr. and Boston’s rising , The Young Leaves to the bill and you have the hottest ticket of the year. By early afternoon fans were lined up outside the venue in hopes of avoiding getting shut out of the show once they reached capacity even with winning of the lottery only tickets. By the time doors opened the line of hopeful attendees had stretched all the way down the street and then some. Suddenly I was overcome by a feeling I hadn’t experienced since the winter of 1991, I was about to bear witness to the cacophony of The Replacements.
First up though was a stirring and raucous set from locals, The Young Leaves who easily won over the unfamiliar and those chomping at the bit for the evenings headliner with an impressive set of 90′s infused indie guitar rock. Which fronter, Christopher Chaisson surmised
“Obviously we’re excited to see the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr., we’ve been ripping them off for the past 30 minutes,”
Next up was Massachusetts’, sludge rock titans, Dinosaur Jr. with little fanfare the trio of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph took to the stage in workmen like fashion and unleashed an exhilarating and sonically jarring set filled with the bands trademark guitar fuzz. Mascis was in fine form delivering blistering leads on Dino Jr. classics like Start Choppin’ as well as Back To Your Heart from the bands 2007 return LP, Beyond.
Just when I thought the electricity in the room had reached it’s pinnacle, there they were. The Replacements: Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, Dave Minehan (formally of The Neighborhoods) and Josh Freeze stood in front of the packed venue dawning lone ranger masks and launching head long into set chock full anthems and should of been hits with a gritty rendition of Seen Your Video. During the first few songs I was immediately taken by how great they sounded. Don’t get me wrong they still posses plenty of the ramshackle charm I’ve come to expect, but there’s a certain amount of precision thanks in large to the additions of Minehan and Freeze. However the night belonged to Westerberg who led The Mats through the cherry picked set that included charging performances of The Ledge, Bastards of The Young, Anywhere Is Better Than Here and even an old Live staple, Another Girl, Another Planet. The band returned for a short encore which began with a thorough acoustic guitar smashing by Westerberg, before delving into a cathartic and stirring take on the bands ode to the disaffected with Unsatisfied. It was on the sets closing song, the power pop anthem, Alex Chilton that drew the exuberant evening to close with the capacity crowd bouncing in unison and singing along to every word.
*Photo Credit: Matthew Shelter-Vanyaland