[LIVE REVIEW] J Mascis at The Earl, 4/7/2011

Any band as long-running and influential as Dinosaur Jr is going to develop a cult, and a sizable chunk of the Atlanta chapter showed up to see frontman J Mascis play a solo acoustic show at The Earl on Thursday.  Mascis recently released his first official solo album, but with all due respect to the very solid Several Shades of Why, that’s not why a near-capacity crowd filled The Earl.  The new songs were generally well-received, particularly album highlight “Not Enough,” but it was the Dinosaur Jr tracks on the setlist that drew the bigger reactions.  “Not You Again” probably got the biggest.  Most of the Dino stuff came from the post-Barlow ’90s albums, which is nice since those songs aren’t played by the full band very often these days.

Nothing he played on Thursday night approached the gloriously noisy volume of a full band Dinosaur Jr performance, but a J Mascis solo show is only quiet relative to the rest of his body of work.  He still plays with plenty of pedals and the solos still draw blood.  He did a bit of looping on some songs, but it honestly wasn’t something he seemed comfortable doing.  I get the feeling he only does it because there are times when he needs to lay a foundation to shred over.  Opener and album collaborator Kurt Vile came out during the middle of the set, playing guitar on one song and singing backup on another.  It was the only time J was accompanied by anything over than his acoustic guitar.

In the end, it’s hard to talk about this show objectively.  I had a great time, but I’m also glad I didn’t attempt to drag along a casually interested friend.  If you’re not among the Dino Jr/Mascis faithful, it might have been a patience-testing 70 minutes.  For the converted, though, it was a gift – a rare chance to hear stripped-down versions of classic songs in an intimate setting.  If you’re a Dinosaur Jr fan, catching a Mascis solo show is definitely worth your time.

There’s a few more pics and a video of “Get Me” after the jump.

Video by jrentdesign.

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