ANYONE heading along to Lizotte's expecting to hear J Mascis provide a more reserved and stripped back rendition of his finest Dinosaur Jr and solo material might have been left choking on their macadamia nut crusted king prawns.
The American alternative-rock legend was alone, but boy, did he pack the same brutal sonic assault fans have come to adore from the 53-year-old since Dinosaur Jr released their debut album in 1985.
To be clear, this was the loudest show I've heard at Lizotte's in a decade of watching gigs at the Lambton theatre. Now, that's not a negative.
Some solo - especially acoustic - gigs can merely wash over the audience and charm them with their subtleties. Mascis was having none of that. He used a sledgehammer approach to demand attention.
The evening began in typical fashion. Support act Peter Black, of The Hard Ons, performed a mellow acoustic set of his solo material, which was a world away from his Sydney punk band.
One audience member scored a free flat white following Black's request for a coffee while on stage.
"Does anyone want this? I'm lactose intolerant," Black said.
The audience was generally restless for Black's set, but they were whipped to attention by Mascis' distortion-heavy six-string blast.
There was no pretense. Mascis dressed in a cap, t-shirt and with his face framed by long grey hair basically stood glued to the spot for the next hour as he blazed through a collection of Dinosaur Jr tracks like Blowing It, The Wagon and Little Fury Things, plus cuts from his underrated solo career like Elastic Days and Everything She Said.
Mascis is a charismatic figure in a completely natural way. Not many artists can lay down a guitar loop, stop to take a sip of tea and then launch into a riff and make it appear effortlessly cool.
This wasn't your usual dinner routine. There was very little crowd engagement except the typical "thanks for coming out tonight" and "this is an old one."
In order to occupy the space usually reserved for bass and percussion, Mascis delivered a haze of distortion.
The abrasive nature of the distortion at times meant the songs were difficult to inhabit as a listener and Mascis' homespun vocals were occasionally lost.
Even Mascis' mellower new material like the charming Americana of See You At The Movies was given a punk makeover live, but Dinosaur Jr's The Wagon was gentler than the version on 1991 album Green Mind.
The real show-stopping moment, however, was the eastern-influenced Heal The Star from Mascis' 2014 solo album Tied To A Star. After a meandering opening, Mascis launched into a cascading solo of distortion as he showcased his dexterity of the fretboard.
The sold-out Lizotte's audience certainly left knowing they'd witnessed a rare opportunity to see one of alternative rock's most influential and inventive songwriters up close and personal. And maybe a ringing eardrum too.