Dinosaur Jr at the Commodore Ballroom

Dinosaur Jr. concert photo

Dinosaur Jr at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Nov 10 2009. Kiri Rostad photo

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).

Lou Barlow and Murph with Dinosaur Jr photo

Lou Barlow and Murph with Dinosaur Jr at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Nov 10 2009. Kiri Rostad photo

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.

J Mascis with Dinosaur Jr photo

J Mascis with Dinosaur Jr at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Nov 10 2009. Kiri Rostad photo

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