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    Get ur freak scene

    Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, 5 June 2001

    Before the show, J Mascis is loitering outside the venue looking somewhat different from how he appears on stage an hour or so later. Mascis looks very purple, his glasses matching his cardigan and trainers. Punk rock has rarely looked quite so zen.

    And The Fog is nothing if not gutteral, visceral punk rock of the most awe-inspiring variety. On stage Mascis sports a Discharge t-shirt and plays concise but exhilarating guitar solos. Mike "ex-fIREHOSE/Minutemen" Watt is sporting the best beard in rock and breaking bass strings with the ferocity of his playing – he looks agitated, and not a little dangerous. While a string is being repaired, Mascis supplies a largely bass-less version of ‘Severed Lips’, while the first part of the set covers a fair range of Dinosaur Jr material, interspersed with some of the highlights of his first solo record.

    ‘Waistin” and ‘Back Before You Go’ both sound as fresh as the older material, and it is perhaps surprising that Mascis chooses a set that spans so much of his career, when his new material is so strong. He also takes time to include a medley of cover versions recorded for John Peel, that includes a version of Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Everything Flows’ that reminds how heavily the nascent Fanclub were influenced by Dinosaur Jr.

    The introduction of Stooges’ guitarist, Ron Asheton, fortifies the sound and increases the volume substantially, as Watt takes the lead vocal duties on a number of Stooges’ songs. Asheton cuts a bizarre figure in his brown jacket, side shed hairstyle, aviator shades, goatee beard and bottle of water hanging out the back pocket of some well worn jeans, but close your eyes and listen to the performances of ‘No Fun’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and this could be the Whiskey-a-Go-Go in 1973.

    It all ends with a version of ‘Freak Scene’ that is arguably more powerful than any live incarnation of Mascis’ former band. On this evidence, it looks like the 52 year-old Asheton has sparked the thirty-something Mascis back to life. His contribution is much appreciated.

    WORDS: John Williamson

    ORIGINAL SOURCE: http://www.playlouder.com/feature/486jmascis/#

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