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Dinosaur Jr.: Bug Live at 9:30 Club — In the Hands of the Fans Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit), Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: NR
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run Time: 60 Mins.
  • Studio: MVD Visual
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 21, 2012
  • List Price: $19.95

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Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:4/5]

The classic lineup of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Emmett Patrick Murphy, aka “Murph” of the Amherst, Massachusetts alternative band Dinosaur Jr. are reunited on stag at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club to perform their seminal 1988 album Bug in its entirety. Captured in high definition by a group of select fans who answered the call put out via YouTube and won a contest to participate, the show reignites the late-Eighties flame of the hard-rock, post punk scene that Dinosaur Jr. inhabited. Forget Nirvana, bands like Dinosaur Jr. along with fellow colleagues of the era like The Pixies, Hüsker Dü and, of course, Sonic Youth, were doing it long before them. The mix of aggressive guitars, twang, Sabbath riffs, Hendrix feedback and worldly lyrics is addictive and energizing.

The show contains the entire Bug album and a few additional tracks that fans should love.

Track listing:

  1. Freak Scene
  2. No Bones
  3. They Always Come
  4. Yeah We Know
  5. Let It Ride
  6. Budge
  7. The Post
  8. Don’t
  9. Sludgefeast

Video Quality

[Rating:2/5]

You can’t hope for much in picture quality when a live show is captured by fans who won an internet contest on low quality HD camcorders from the audience and so forth. This image is plagued with noise, posterization, motion artifacts and lacks detail. There is poor contrast and, well, there’s really no point in layering on the criticism. The show is offered in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080i/60 encodement.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Like the Iggy & The Stooges release of Raw Power – In the Hands of the Fans, this Dinosaur Jr. release comes with a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in addition to a LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) mix. Why, in this day and age, Blu-ray concert discs are being offered with DVD-era audio codecs is something I still cannot fathom, but what makes this worse is that, again, like the Raw Power release, Live at the 9:30 Club’s 5.1 mix is mastered in a way that it is starved of dynamics and high frequencies are edgy, while the midrange is far too boosted. Switching to the LPCM 2.0 is more tolerable, but it sounds rather dull and lifeless, still.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

There are a few extras in HD on here, some, once again, captured by the fans. Included are interviews with the band, backstage footage, and additional live footage.

The Supplements:

  • On Stage Interview with Henry Rollins (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:20:04)
  • Back stage Interview with the Fans (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:18:37)
  • Bonus Live Footage (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:08:45)
  • J & Dave Markey (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:08:17)
  • Rollins on the 9:30 Club (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:03:06)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

The live performance of Dinosaur Jr.’s classic album, Bug, is hampered by poor audio and video on this In the Hands of the Fans release from MVD Visual, but if you can overlook that, then this may be worth renting.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006HGXGT8[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey. Many thanks for the review. Do you think there’s any real difference between the Blu-Ray and the DVD version of this concert? I’m thinking about buying the Blu-Ray but if it isn’t that great quality I think I’d go for the DVD instead.

    Kind regards

    • Frankly, considering they don’t have a lossless surround audio option on the Blu-ray and that the video presentation is really middling at best, the DVD might not be a bad option on this case. The Blu-ray will probably still yield slightly better video quality, simply because it won’t be as compressed, but the audio will be about the same, if not identical depending on whether or not the alter the bitrate on the Dolby Digital track or not, which is unlikely. After all, the main reason for purchasing a concert video, in my opinion anyway, is for the music and the sound, is it not? :)

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