J Mascis

The last time J Mascis was in town was for the Dinosaur JR reunion shows about 2 years ago, and for everybody who saw those shows they haven't picked their jaws up from the ground and are getting hearing aids. This time around J was by himself for the Falls festival and a handful of solo shows, its clear that Melbourne loves J because he sold out 3 shows at the Toff and one at the Caravan Club in Oakleigh. J's first proper solo album Several Shades of Why from 2011 was heavily lauded and ended up on a lot's of end of year best lists. I personally thought the album was nice and relaxed but nothing really special, and I was thinking the performance was going to be like that, nice and relaxed and that's about it, but man was I wrong J's performance was anything but relaxed, the sounds he ripped out of the acoustic guitar was nothing like I had heard before, he wailed and totally deconstructed the way an acoustic guitar could be played.


J's playing was so effortless and he could have played blindfolded, the monster riffs he was pulling out smashed the audience like a Tsunami I was transfixed from the very start until the end, the only thing that pissed me off and the rest of the audience was J was sitting down on a small stool all night and the stage at the toff is very low, so the audience was clambering all over tables and squashing up the front just to get a view. He played a wide range of songs from his varied career, everything from his band the Fog to the later day Dinosaur JR days, I have been a fan of Dinosaur JR since the mid 90's so I felt incredibly privileged seeing J play songs such as Get Me and Not the Same from Where You Been. One of the most unusual songs during the night was a cover of an Edie Bricknell song called Circle of Friends, it was unusual because the song is a commercial pop song and not something I would ever think J would do, and it was a very cool cover none the less.


As well as that unusual cover one of the highlights of the evening was an obscure song from a John Peel session called Alone, the song was wavering folksy drone that swept the crowd into the wild storm of riffs. I had never heard the song before the gig so it totally blew me away. I had seen Dinosaur JR two years ago at Golden Plains where they broke me into small pieces and smashed me into the ground, this time around J caressed and broke me again but in a different way, this time it was more liked being rocked to sleep with my head up against an amplifier turned up to 11.


Tonight's gig was an awesome start to 2012; it's hard to think what could better this gig.

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