ATN Los Angeles correspondent Roger Park reports: The audience at the
Troubadour last Thursday was treated to a
very special acoustic set by Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis. A
packed crowd enthusiastically cheered as Mascis walked on the stage
armed only with an acoustic guitar. Mascis tuned his instrument in
a torpid manner as the crowd grew more anxious.
"You know, they have an autographed photo of Joan Baez in the
bathroom," he said before he started his first song. "It's kind of
nerve-wracking to be on the same stage Joan Baez was on."
The songwriter/guitarist, who hails from Amherst,
Massachusetts, played a 40 minute set, which included songs from
earlier Dinosaur Jr. albums such as "Homestead" and "Green Mind."
Much to the appreciation of the audience, Mascis also performed
songs from "Without a Sound," an album which was released last
Earlier in the evening, Mike Johnson, bassist for Dinosaur
Jr., also played an acoustic guitar solo set. The atmosphere of
the opening set was both mellow and attentive as Johnson's full
tenor proved his talent for songwriting as well strong guitar work.
During Mascis's set, the expression on the face under the
brown Stetson hat remained calm and sedative. However, in contrast
to his reticent between the songs, Mascis' distinctive nasal twang
and guitar playing showed great dynamics. At times, Mascis would
trash on his acoustic and send great booms and chops through the
air, only to change, in a wink of an eye, to a delicate intertwining
of soft singing and fragile guitar lines. Often compared to Neil
Young, both in singing and guitar style, J. Mascis music still
remains the individualistic art of his unique talents.
"I got hooked up with J. back in 1990 when I was living a
friend of mine," Johnson told ATN after the show. "J. was out in
Seattle and at that time, I think, he had an abscess tooth and
wasn't really in good condition. But we got together and I joined
In the corner, Mascis is trying to close a small suitcase
which is jammed with pages of songs and guitar cables. When asked
what projects he was doing, Mascis said, "I'm working on songs for
an Allison Anders movie. I met her a year ago and we kept in
touch." Finally, Mascis closes the cases and plops down on the
sofa, a bit tired. When asked when the next album is due, Mascis
raises his eyebrows, smiles, then says, "No plans right now, but
don't worrythere'll be more."