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- Posted on Mar 12th 2011 6:00PM by Lonny Knapp
The crowd waited patiently as the stage tech hauled in an Orange speaker cabinet followed by a Vox amplifier, an impressive collection of effects pedals and a music stand with a reading light, arranging the equipment neatly in front of a lone black chair perched on the otherwise bare stage.
The curtains parted, and Mascis -- looking like he just woke up from a long nap -- took his seat, plugged in his guitar, flipped through the binder placed on the music stand and seemingly picked tunes from his extensive back catalog at random. Fans in the front few rows hung on every word and almost died from rapture when he performed favorites from the classic Dinosaur Jr. recordings 'Bug' and 'You're Living All over Me.'
Sure his long locks have turned a shocking white, but Mascis wasn't satisfied to roll out a greatest hits revue. "I'm releasing a new album, and this is the first tune," he mumbled into the microphone before breaking into 'Listen to Me,' a song that comes across like classic-era Dinosaur Jr. without the fuzz and feedback. Though, he didn't have a run-of-the-mill acoustic set up. Plugged into an amplifier, Mascis' acoustic guitar operated on the brink of feedback leaving some fans hungry for more volume.
Mascis' new album, 'Several Shades of Why,' is his solo and acoustic debut, and proves once and for all that underneath the oceans of fuzz, the 45-year-old alt-rock vet is an introspective folk singer.
The record features guest turns by the likes of Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) and Kurt Vile who also appeared on the bill. And so fittingly, the highlight of the show came when both Vile and Drew jumped on stage to sing backups on 'Not Enough,' the first single from the forthcoming album.
Earlier, they dialed in an unexpected cover. "In the early days, we would listen to a lot of different music in the van. I think Murph gave us Edie Brickell," he said before serving up an excellent rendition of 'Circle.'
The mere mention the of Dinosaur Jr. drummer elicited more than a few hoots from the audience. As guitarist for the alt-rock pioneers, Mascis has influenced countless guys to pick up guitars and play excruciatingly loud.
One anxious fan kept yelling "guitar solo" before each song. Mascis was happy to oblige. Near the end of the set, he looped a chord progression, dialed up the fuzz and delivered a face-melting guitar solo, making one fan's entire year. It was a night not to be missed.