New York Bowery Ballroom

strong>Mascis unwittingly proves to be a huge show-off...

If it weren't for his guitar, J Mascis would slip away. Shrouded by a curtain of thin hair, the former frontman of Dinosaur Jr., the seminal indie rock band that paved the way for grunge, is his typical reticent self tonight. A man of few words and understated style, Mascis says little more than "thank you" in between his band's 17-song set and looks as if he's thrown on whichever clothes were draping his bedroom that morning.

But put a guitar in his hands, and Mascis becomes the equivalent of a

Gucci-clad mac daddy. Guitar solo after guitar solo, Mascis unwittingly

proves to be a huge show-off, and it's not unwarranted, either. His guitar interludes display tremendous intricacy and skill, offsetting his warbly voice with muscle and might.

It was so with Dinosaur Jr. and continues to be with Mascis' new outfit, The Fog, which features Mike Watt of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE on bass and George Berz on drums. Tonight the trio opens with 'Same Day' the first song off new LP 'More Light'.

The band plays 'Waistin' and the single 'Where'd You Go' before landing on 'Out There' off Dinosaur Jr.'s 1993 album 'Where You Been'. Although the largely male crowd seems to be enjoying the new material, some classic Jr. is clearly what they were hoping for. Mascis pleases immensely on this front, mixing tracks like 'Thumb', 'Freak Scene' 'Get Me' and 'Severed Lips' with newer songs 'I'm Not Fine" "Ammaring' and 'Back Before You Go'.

Watt, a legend himself, is mostly relegated to a supporting role tonight, except at the end of the hour-long set when he takes the mic for a punk-rock ditty so fierce that the drummer loses a stick.

The first song of the encore brings new meaning to the word "multi-tasking," as Mascis hangs a keyboard around his neck, strums his guitar and sings all at the same time. Popular Dinosaur Jr. track 'The Wagon' sees the beginnings of a moshpit, but it dies out before Mascis can say "Thank you and good night."

Mia Quagliarello

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