"Hello", "Thanks, good night". There you have pretty much every word uttered by J Mascis during his show in Cambridge. Mascis has always been brief with chit chat and his aloofness also becomes part of his charm.
Just after 9pm, Mascis walks on stage, sits in the mic stand and amp shaped cocoon that has been created for him and, after briefly welcoming the audience, picks up a guitar and proves that for all the aloofness, J Masics is one of the best guitarists there is. With nothing more than a guitar, a loop pedal and a board of effects he keeps the crowd captivated for over an hour.
It would be easy to make the bad pun of "he lets his guitar do the talking" but Mascis' croaky, off kilter vocals and guitar solos that somehow know just when to draw back to avoid accusations of self indulgent fretwanking, has a crowd that stare in awe at his ability with a guitar and make the hour plus set fly by despite the lack of stories, movement or acknowledgement of the audience's existence from the man there to entertain.
Dinosaur Jr classics are mixed in with material from Mascis' second album on Sub Pop and neither make the set sound disjointed. There are many highlights. If you asked 10 fans I am sure you would get 10 different answers. Personally, the ability to strip back Not The Same to something that, to my ears, sounded like perfection and had me crawling YouTube for recordings was hard to beat. The night draws to a close with covers of Mazzy Star's Fade Into You and The Cure's Just Like Heaven, both sounding as good as (or dare I say better?) than their originals. After the final "you're" of Just Like Heaven, Mascis says goodbye and leaves.
While waiting for him to take the stage I speak to someone who has seen Masics' twice on this tour and Dinosaur Jr countless times. He said something that, at the time, I thought it would be the perfect way to end this post and sum up the genius of J Masics. Unfortunately I cannot remember what he said and all I am left with is the genius of J Mascis live and a small ringing in my ears.