"J., DON'T REFER TO SEATTLE AS Seattle, refer to Seattle as the town that's forsaken rock and roll!" Eh? This sapless snipple of badinage, volleyed by some che outre chucklehead standing mid-crowd and stage left, is fairly representative of the goosey level of repartée which broke fetid wind at the Crocodile last Thursday. "Hey J! I name my farts, too!" Huh? To his credit, Mr. Mascis--looking slightly dyspeptic and record-store-employee-ish as he lumbered over his teensy beat acoustic--tolerated such lookee-me lobs with a grin of remedial embarrassment. He'd come, after all, to sing songs on his lanky lonesome, not to shoot the poot with anonymous pickle-dicks. To this end he did fine, with a charming, sloppy, and familiarly noisy abandon.

Mascis--of moderately legendary Dinosaur Jr. infamy--is gifted with one of those wonderful nostalgia-inducing rock voices: not a particularly great set of cords, but the sort of gravel-and-glass thing which elicits a sense of familiarity. Like Chrissie Hynde and (especially) Neil Young, Mascis can buzz an unfocused emotion out of your noggin regardless of the quality of his singing. In the live solo setting of the crowded Croc, Mascis warbled without the usual panoply of feedback and Big Muff humbug. His eggbeater guitar stylings--located somewhere between the epileptic and the ecstatic--provided a solitary wonky backdrop for an inebriate hootenanny of Uncle Chumpy anti-folk.

Casually mixing new material with older stuff, and fresh from a recent recording session with his band the Fog, Mascis seemed comfortable in his odd and limited role as the aging figurehead of what Trouser Press called "amateurism run amok." That everything he writes sounds pretty much the same, song by half-crafted song, is quite okay. After all, Mascis was one of the founders of low-expectation indie rock self-sabotage, which perhaps explains why the carny crowd couldn't decide whether to heckle or swoon in his presence. No matter. Mascis delivered the catalogue with unprofessional professionalism--wanking upon strings, howling and sliding off-key, generally chugging along and sending some of us back to a none-too-distant decade when he was King of the Losers.

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