Home › Forums › Dinosaur Related Discussions › Dinosaur/J News & Discussions › Camden Underworld gig review in NME Sept. 2000
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September 20, 2000 at 10:14 am #42990
From last week’s NME:
London Camden Underworld
Shyly, he takes his seat and straps on the guitar. Maybe his ears, punished with mega-decibels of white noise over the last decade or so, don’t hear the rabid screaming’n’applause that greets his first appearance on a UK stage in three years, but then J Mascis has never been one to be swayed by fan worship.
He stumbled upon the grunge formula when Nirvana were mere gnatlings, but when the teen spirit finally ignited, J’s outfit Dinosaur Jr seemed happier to ply noise-drenched country-rock than plug themselves into the punk-metal MTV zeitgeist, a decision that saw Mascis written off as an ambitionless slacker who’d lost the inspiration he once had.
Such cruel judgements are stomped into dust tonight, Mascis playing solo with just an acoustic and a clutch of FX pedals for comfort, but making as beautiful, as brilliant a noise as ever. Ostensibly here to plug new solo album, ‘More Light’, J instead picks a winding path through his back pages; songs from his blistering landmark early LPs rub shoulders easily with gems from his maligned middle-period and from ‘More Light’, testifying to J’s enduring knack for a slightly somnambulant shade of genius.
For all the AM-rock influence coursing through the veins of J’s oeuvre, tonight is thankfully anything but a stool-rock snoozathon. Though J’s songs tidy up nicely in this unplugged format, that doesn’t stop him whacking on several trillion volts-worth of distortion when he sees fit, waking the fearsome Sabbath-riffage that slumbers at the heart of the mournful ballad ‘Quest’, and electrifying the soaringly anthemic ‘The Wagon’. And, praise be, J’s curtailed his slacker-Satriani excesses, his considerable guitar skills perfecting songs, not suffocating them with showy wankery.
He’s his usual, uncommunicative self, looking surprisingly wizened behind Nana Mouskouri specs and a matted salt’n’pepper ‘hairdo’ that even Neil Young would consider a little unkempt – but then, no-one’s asking him to change. On the evidence of an irresistible ‘Same Day’ (the best song off ‘More Light’ he plays tonight), there’s plenty more mileage left in Mascis’ strangely-profound zen-mumble yet. Long may he gloriously meander.
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