Early yesterday evening, Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, one of indie rock’s greatest guitar heroes, played an unusual venue — The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. He was by himself, with a plugged-in acoustic guitar and it was very awesome. You can watch the entire show on the Kennedy Center’s Web site, but here are three highlights from the free show.
- He wore a Wipers t-shirt.
Would Mascis dress fancy for a gig in a classy venue? Hardly. He wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the iconic logo of the cult-favorite Portland, Ore., punk group. We’re pretty sure this is a first for the Kennedy Center.
- He didn’t talk to us.
Maybe some people were hoping the intimate solo show would result in Mascis going “Storyellers” on us and chatting up the crowd. That was most certainly not the case. About the only words he said were, “This is an Edie Brickell song.” (And he did then play an Edie Brickell song, “Circle of Friends.”) Mascis made the most of his hour on stage.
- He was supremely loud.
Don’t let the acoustic guitar fool you. Mascis was plugged in and delivered a handful of long, winding and piercing solos that had no problem filling the Kennedy Center’s entire grand foyer. It was fun to watch the reactions of curious tourists who just happened into the show since it was free. A handful scurried out after the first of his lengthy, Neil Young-esque runs.