Dinosaur Jr at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Nov 9 2009
– review by Shawn Conner/photo by Kiri Rostad
How long has he been doing this? Twenty years, at least. And yet J Mascis, together with the reunited Dinosaur Jr., stands on stage as stiff and awkward as though it were his first time.
This, despite the distractions of 8-ft high stacks of Marshall amps, a giant swamp monster mural behind those, and over on stage right a madly playing Lou Barlow on bass and Murph on drums (this being the second reunion tour of the Original/Classic Lineup).
But that’s J Mascis for you. One of rock’s more contradictory presences, the Massachusetts longhair s is a famous mumbler in interviews and an uncomfortable presence onstage. But when he slams into a careening guitar solo or sings his disaffected anthems in the ultimate slacker voice, it’s a certain kind of magic called Dinosaur Jr.
There was a point in the middle of the ear-splitting set – the left ear, to be precise – where Mascis led the trio through a mini-greatest hits set of “The Wagon”, “Little Fury Things” and “Freak Scene”. Then, I was no longer at the show out of habit and nostalgia than anything else – I was there because this band, at its best, is just so freakin’ great.