Dinosaur Jr. guitarist plays wonderful acoustic show...
J Mascis

One of the true pioneers of what would be termed grunge, J Mascis is known for a certain style of guitar playing, a certain brand of songwriting.

Yet, across two acoustic-themed solo albums, the gently aging guitarist has turned these expectations upside down. Returning to London for a show at the Scala this evening (January 8th), J Mascis is no doubt buoyed by the critical praise lavished on recent full length ‘Tied To A Star’.

Not that he shows it. With his flowing white hair tumbling out beneath a baseball cap, J Mascis is a supreme example of unstudied nonchalance. Barely interacting with the crowd, his shambling, endearing, at times brilliant performance serves to underline what a distinct talent he is.

The set draws primarily on those two solo LPs, with J Mascis looping the main chord sequence before blazing out what he has termed ‘fake electric’ lightning bolts. ‘Every Morning’ is given a strident, forthright treatment, while ‘Wide Awake’ is rather more tender in the live arena.

Dropping in a handful of Dinosaur Jr. classics to the clear delight of the crowd – which includes both Richard Ayoade and Thurston Moore – there are moments of quite stark emotion. Covering Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’, J is allowed to showcase his oft overlooked vocals, with his strong falsetto ringing out pure and clear.

Ending with a cheeky rendition of ‘Just Like Heaven’ – a perennial Dinosaur Jr. stomper which he stops just as the crowd really begin to sing along – J Mascis ends the evening by erupting into what appears to be an owl’s hoot. Truly, there’s no one quite like J.

Related: Foundations - J Mascis

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