Review – Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.

Steve Taylor-Bryant relives a secret from his youth and watched the music documentary Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr....

There are many documentaries about music and bands out there for a viewer to access but rarely is there a band so deserving of the genre spotlight that these films can produce than Dinosaur Jr. Birthed in the mid 1980’s, and bridging the gap between punk and what would become known as grunge, Dinosaur Jr. excelled at being a tight unit of three, drums/guitar/bass, and prolifically produced songs that just resonated with a young man finding his own path into music in adolescence, but they are a band I rarely talked about because nobody I knew had even heard of them. They did not really hit the mainstream until the Seattle scene changed radio and music television and I was okay with that, it was like a secret that only I knew, and by the time they hit the bright lights of popular music the industry was changing, and they did not seem to stay long and so another generation of casual music fans missed them. They are probably the most famous underground secret that music has ever produced but finally, with Freakscene, everyone will know their name.

As a film itself, Freakscene is brilliant because it's all about the music. Yes, there are interviews and stories of conflict and break ups and hardships along the journey, some I knew about some I did not, but every interview is essential. When non band members get their chance in front of the camera, they are not there for celebrities’ sake, they are people who interacted with Dinosaur Jr. or championed them in some way. There is no huge mega celebrity keeping their name relevant on the backs of others' work, there are good people like Henry Rollins who loved Dinosaur Jr. and the people involved in the band and helped with a comeback. But even more importantly than celebrity appearances and band interviews there is music, so much music.

Freakscene is a brief film, running at just over an hour and twenty minutes, but is often like being at a gig. There is so much live stuff included from across the decades, and so many of those weird and wonderful videos that those in know enjoyed back in the day, and that was Dinosaur Jr. It was all about the music. So, watch Freakscene for insight if you need too, watch it for history if you want, but Freakscene for me is like a backstage pass to a brilliant festival that celebrates some of my favourite songs.

Images - Munro Films
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