J Mascis @ The Factory Theatre Sydney, 21/02/2015

We love a bit of noise in our house. Between the guitars {up to three at once}, the music, and the inevitable singing along {not to mention the televisions}, there is usually a good level of musical noise to be heard coming from our place.

One band that is heard often and is one of the most beloved by all is Dinosaur Jr. Dating back to the early days of the band when my husband first got into them as a teenager, to our then seven year old picking up a guitar and learning their songs over a decade ago, to seeing them live en famille with the original line up a couple of years ago, we love Dinosaur Jr.

So it was with great excitement that we went along to see lead singer and main songwriter J Mascis play a solo set when he hit town last week. Hubby and I had made plans to meet up with some cousins who were going along after having seen J on the popular Aussie music quiz show RocKwiz a couple of years ago. Also appearing on the show that night, and in the support slot for these shows, was much loved Melbourne artist Adalita. We were all looking forward to a great night.

After a yummy dinner at Gigi’s Pizzeria at Newtown {officially one of the top five pizzeria’s in Australia according to the Naples Pizza Association} we arrived at the venue. And while we were standing there discussing our chances of getting to meet J, my husband’s cousin says, “is that J or someone who’s trying really hard to look like him?”. Sure enough, it was the man himself making his way into the venue. We wasted no time in heading straight for him, especially one of my sons who had joined us at the last minute and had missed the Dinosaur Jr gig a couple of years before as he was under-age. This was the same child who had been inspired by J to learn guitar when he was only seven years old, so he was there in a flash. After a quick hello and an even quicker photo {“J can I get a photo?”, “If you can take it while we’re walking”}, the night was off to a good start.

We made our way in as the first opening act was finishing up his last song. I then made my way to my usual Adalita-gig-spot: front and centre. My husband has long since given up explaining to me that the sound is better a little further back, and for her he happily makes the exception. She soon came out, barefoot and gorgeous, and played a mix of songs from her two albums. It was nice to hear some of the songs from her first album as it’s been a while since she played some of them. Going Down is always excellent live, and I was happy that it was our cousins first time seeing her live and they really seemed to be digging it. Adalita also mentioned how honoured and stoked she was to be opening for a personal hero of hers.

{A funny moment had it happened: at the end of her set she leaned down to the side of the front row to ask the time, and naturally everyone whipped out their mobile phones. If she had asked me she would have seen herself, from a photo we took together 😉 }.

Adalita, Factory Theatre, 21/02/2015
Adalita, Factory Theatre, 21/02/2015

After her set I told my husband he could now choose the spot, and surprisingly, he wanted to remain where we were. So we remained front and centre, from where I tried to see the set list {no luck}, and tried reading from the lyric sheets that were propped up and ready. There was a chat with the girl next to us who had come from three hours away to see her idol, and the photographers jostling for room. Soon J came out and amid the cheers someone yelled out “talk to us J!”, to which he responded with a droll “hello”, earning big laughs from the crowd. “That’s about all I could manage right now”, he explained, and apart from a few thank you’s that was about all the conversation he managed the whole show. Which was all good and well because we were there to witness his guitar God-ness, and he didn’t disappoint.

He played a mix of solo and Dinosaur Jr songs, and I have to admit that standing SO CLOSE {i.e. right up against the stage}, the vocals were lost and we could barely hear them. What we couldn’t miss however, was the sound of J’s guitar playing. What I love is the way he can use a guitar in place of, as well as in addition to, vocals. His guitar playing tells it’s own story, paints it’s own picture. There’s no guitar wanking in the vein of the clichéd 80’s metal bands and solos, with J there’s only pure genius. The show ended far too soon.

See how close we were?
See how close we were? No zooming required.
Husband’s blurry head to the left, cousin’s blurry head to the right.

As we made our way out after the show we debated hanging around trying to meet J and maybe talk to him, and in the end we were all still high from the show and in no hurry to leave, so stay we did. We made ourselves comfortable, chatted to one of the photographers, the girl who had come from three hours away {and walked away with one of J’s guitar picks for a souvenir}, and waited. Maybe half an hour later we spotted J making his way out. He walked right past us, as in like, right next to where we were seated, and we all said thanks, great show, and the like, and he smiled and said thanks. And right on his heels, which I had missed, was Adalita walking towards her car carrying her gear. My husband called out to her, and amid hugs and introductions to our son and cousins, had a very quick chat, mentioned how excellent the whole night had been, and parted with more hugs and kisses. {And for the first time EVER I was normal and not stupidly nervous around her. Except that I may have showed her my phone’s screensaver. Maybe.}

And with that we headed back to our car, and as I think back to how excited we all were at the end of a great night, I realise for the first time that that walk back to the car, hotel, or cab after a fun gig is also a highlight of it’s own. We relive our favourite song or moment, compare notes, and go over and over the whole night until there’s nothing we haven’t talked about and rehashed.

{Even the whole drive home we were all still buzzing, and I couldn’t fall asleep when I finally got to bed in the wee hours}.

And to borrow a line from RocKwiz: what was the first concert you ever went to?

Til next time,


P.S. I haven’t shared the photo of my son and J because, well, that’s his to share. His older brother was a tad bummed when he had to work that night so had to miss the gig, and to top it off then gets a text message while at work from his brother saying “I just met J”.


P.S.S. Thank you to Gloria for the pictures of Adalita and J’s guitar. xxx

P.S.S.S. If you’re still reading you get a bonus pic:

Best screensaver EVER. Except maybe for the picture of my husband with Evan Dando that I also use.

17 Thoughts

  1. What a night! Can’t believe you met him, good for you. LOL at the screen saver moment that maybe was.
    You’re so right-holy crap-the best part is right after, getting out of the venue and absorbing and sorting through what’s just been experienced and trying to remember the songs and the best part. Every time I’ve left an outstanding show I feel a relaxed satisfaction yet my heart races faster than when I was so excited before it even started…and getting into the car and putting on the music I’ve just heard live lets me hear and appreciate it with brand new ears. I never noticed that before but you’re totally right, leaving the show and going to wherever you’re going is it’s own highlight and exhilarating and always fantastic when it’s shared with somebody who feels the same way. Glad to hear it was a good night & you got to chat with Adalita again.

    1. Yeah, I never stopped to think that the post show high is one of the highlights. I even did that leap in the air and click your feet together as we headed for the car, plus going with other people added to it. And just knowing how way husband and son loved seeing him made it even better for me.

      And Adalita’s just a sweetheart.

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