"What a bummer," responds Lou Barlow, in the spirit with which the remark was intended. He knows as well as anybody here that the chance to see some proper alt-rock legends doesn't come around too often, and when it does it's never going to be boring. Or quiet. This far past their mid-noughties reunion, regardless of side projects and spin-offs, the band are still loud enough that the sound warps and distorts as guitars screech in a wave over the capacity crowd.
With Barlow's chugging bass at times the sonic equivalent of strobe lighting, and the wailing guitar solos that end every song in a mess of feedback and distortion, J Mascis's gravelly voice keeps the melodic ship steady on newer songs like Watch The Corners and Been There All The Time. Predictably, though, it's the older material that gets the riotous reception: a terrifying "slow song", as Barlow wryly puts it, by the pair's first band, and about refusing to go to college, and a double header of Out There and Feel The Pain. Maybe it's the venue's lush green lighting or the sea of bobbing heads in front but the latter, with its melodic verses and periodic breakdowns, sounds as if it should be soundtracking a particularly miserable summer festival.
With almost every song strong enough to be a closer it's a wonder they do end so effectively, going back to their first album and adding screeching feedback that seems to go on for a euphoric 10 minutes. When they return for a quick cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven, Barlow delights in an impression of an actual dinosaur on the choruses.