To anyone vaguely familiar with alternate music from that period J Mascis needs no introduction, his seminal act Dinosaur Jr a regular feature of the decade’s soundtrack.
Doing a similar thing in our own backyard, Adalita Srsen was more than occupied fronting Geelong spawned noise pop outfit Magic Dirt.
It is always a source of intrigue when those who are usually safely embedded in a comforting wall of noise brazenly step out on their lonesome. Despite her years of stage experience, there is more than a tad of awestruck school girl when the bare footed Adalita declares its “a massive honour” and that she is ‘pinching herself” at the notion of supporting one of her long time influences.
Once the music starts, however, the school girl promptly disappears. With effective yet not excessive guitar work and loop pedal manoevring we are quickly pulled into a trance. Several tracks off debut solo album get a running with ‘Hot Air‘ and ‘The Repairer‘ out of the blocks early. The tracks tonight are lengthy but hypnotic and her voice works as well in this mode as it does wailing over Magic Dirt‘s sonic chaos. ‘Perfection‘ and ‘Goin Down‘ are other notable moments as Adalita rounds out a widely welcomed set.
Long grey hair (Dinosaur Senior these days?) tucked under the trademark baseball cap, Mr Mascis strolls nonchalantly onto stage, takes his seat and gets stuck in.
A man of minimal banter, he is quickly into ‘Listen To Me‘ and an early airing of Dinosaur Jr‘s ‘Little Fury Things‘.
Unfortunately all was not well with the sound this evening. Whether it was Mascis‘ intention or the sound engineer was hearing something different to the rest of the room the guitar was a serious issue. The constant tinniness was difficult to ignore but the real problem arose when the distortion kicked in. Earplugs should not be a necessity at an acoustic show but this was louder than your average metal band and at times the notes in J’s frequent lengthy solos were lost in pure noise.
It was a shame, as fans were treated to perhaps a higher than expected percentage of Dinosaur Jr tracks. ‘Get Me’, ‘Not The Same‘ and ‘Out There‘ (all off the classic ‘Where You Been’ record) were all received emphatically.
A couple of covers were thrown in for good measure, with Mazzy Star‘s ‘Fade Into You‘ and The Cure‘s ‘Just Like Heaven‘ getting the Mascis touch. Then with a farewell as casual as his greeting, off he walked to rapturous applause.
One feels many ardent fans would have left with somewhat mixed feelings. To see such a well respected figure performing much loved songs in an intimate setting would be considered a special treat but the mystifying guitar sound was somewhat of an insurmountable hurdle.