So many times I've seen a guitarist at a show and come away thinking, man, that guy/gal is incredible - it can't get any better than that. Then I see someone like J Mascis, a man who is regularly ranked among the top guitar players of all time, and I'm reminded what a truly incredible guitar performance sounds like.
I was worried about seeing the Dinosaur Jr. frontman at what was I assumed was a solo acoustic gig. Why would I want to see the renowned fuzz-slinger strumming away like James Taylor? I guess it works for Neil Young. Thankfully it was largely a moot point: Mascis brought his fuzzbox with him. And his Marshall. A quick tap of the foot pedals and you'd think he was wielding his Squier again.
Mascis's setlist was primarily made up of songs from his new solo album, Tied to a Star, plus some Dinosaur Jr. covers, including "Out There," the standout lead track from 1993's Where You Been. There was a beautiful version of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" thrown in toward the end that served to highlight Mascis's distinctive, fragile vocals.
At the end of the set Mascis, like so many performers at Club Cafe before him, realized it's next to impossible to walk backstage and then back out again for an encore. So he just walked to the end of the stage, made a quip about playing more because there was nowhere for him to go, and asked if there were any requests. (Some joker yelled out for Sebadoh.) He ended up closing on a cover of the The Cure's "Just Like Heaven:"
Those in the sold-out crowd, who had dropped $50 a pop for the chance to see the indie rock legend in such an intimate venue, left talking like it was worth every cent.
Here are some photos: