Alternative rock legend J Mascis performed a solo show at The Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights Tuesday night. Mascis fronts the — also legendary — loud-quiet rock band, Dinosaur Jr.
Fans packed around the stage in anticipation, waiting for Mascis to appear. A door swung out of the red velvet curtain draping the back corner of the stage. Out came Mascis. He sat at his stool, took a swig of coconut water, picked up his guitar and spoke into the microphone.
“Alright,” Mascis said, and his set began.
Mascis brings his trademark voice and self-taught guitar style into his solo project. Mascis’ definitive whirring vocals and overlapping, distorted guitar graced the ears of all in attendance.
“Tied to a Star,” Mascis’ latest solo album, dropped Aug. 26 in the States and on Aug. 25 in the United Kingdom. “Tied to a Star” and his previous critically acclaimed album “Several Shades of Why” were released through the label Sub Pop.
Indie-folk duo Luluc accompanies Mascis on this nationwide tour. Luluc is comprised of Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett. The two hail originally from Melbourne, Australia, but have also found a home in Brooklyn, New York.
Randell joked about her first impression of Ohio, saying earlier that day they ate amazing sushi. Jokes aside, she stated that she was astonished by the color of autumn leaves.
“It’s absolutely breathtaking,” Randell said. “We don’t experience anything like that in Australia.”
Luluc is touring across the United States for the first time, seeing and playing in many parts of the country. The majority of their time spent in the States has been in New York. The two will tag along with Mascis until Nov. 22, and then play a string of shows in Australia.
“We are big fans of J,” Randell said. “The crowds have been great so far.”
Luluc’s last released album, “Passerby,” came out on Sub Pop in July.
The Grog Shop is located in the Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland Heights, at 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd. The Grog Shop prides itself on creating an intimate experience between musicians and audience members. The dive bar aesthetic coupled with standing audience and a low-rise stage establishes a sense of togetherness not found in large-scale venues.
John Douglas is a well-known figure among Grog Shop patrons. Douglas often works shows at The Grog Shop, making sure that people do not get out of hand.
“I’m working crowd control tonight,” Douglas said. “I’m just glad there’s no stage-divers.”
Instead, Douglas ambled around the bar, taking empty glasses and returning them to the bar.
Mascis played his set encompassed by a wall of fans. Upon leaving the stage, audience members hollered, demanding more music and back out he came. After playing an encore, Mascis laid down his guitar.
“Alright, thanks,” Mascis said.
Thus ended another evening of passion for music in The Grog Shop.