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    Live review from Boston.com

    J Mascis at peace making noisy rock
    By Jim Sullivan, Globe Staff, 11/2/2000

    CAMBRIDGE – The only appreciable difference between guitarist-singer J Mascis’s long-running old band Dinosaur Jr and a new entity called J Mascis + The Fog is that the bass player is Pumpkinhead. Well, at least he was on Halloween. He is flannel-shirted former Minutemen and Firehose stalwart Mike Watt, the hardest-working man in postpunk showbiz – he played with his own band at T.T. the Bear’s last month – and he sported a plastic pumpkin over his noggin at the Middle East Downstairs Tuesday. He shed it at the end of the pre-encore set to sing a ripping version of the Stooges’ "TV Eye."

    But Watt is a temporary bandmate in this power trio (which includes ex-Dino drummer George Berz), and it’s Mascis’s show – as much as anything Mascis does is a show. His hair is long, his clothes are casual, his look is of indifference. His voice is craggy, often pained. He always seems to be singing about one struggle or another – depression, inertia, the sense of time passing by. The goal, it would seem, is just to get by, not triumph. But glints of triumph come elsewhere, in Mascis’s electric guitar (and pedal-enhanced) work. Here, he remains a slacker’s version of Neil Young when Young is in his Crazy Horse let-it-rip-and-roar mode. Mascis comes off as a reluctant guitar hero, and also as a man who is only truly at peace when he is navigating that guitar through some tangled journey.

    The 70-minute, 14-song set was smart and economical, each song a variation on a similar theme. Mascis started with the agitated speed-king of a song, "Lung," much as he did three years ago in concert, but he focused on his new disc, "More Light," playing the single, "Where’d You Go," next. Typically, the music growls and snarls, catapults into the land of distortion, pauses, drops back. Mascis splashes a few crystalline notes over the bedrock, and then it’s back to a massive squall. For the first encore, "More Light," Mascis + The Fog veered into an exhilarating Hawkwindesque space groove, with Mascis sporting a portable synth around his neck. Overall, the guys found a zone where agitation and comfort coexist, a place where you hang onto whatever bits of splendor you can.

    original source : http://ae.boston.com/news/daily/11/02/mascis_review.html

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