In the lean years of the 1980s there were two categories of artists being unjustifiably ignored: first those who were unquestionably major talents–R.E.M. say–who’d obviously connect with large numbers of people given the exposure, and second artists who were more idiosyncratic, less essential, but interesting nonetheless; their diversity and energy enlivened rock’s subcultures. Now, in what critics like to call the post-Nevermind era, people like J. Mascis are about where they should be in the world: selling some records, getting some MTV play, and generally enjoying themselves with a minimum of artistic compromise. He’s pretty weird, even by today’s standards: He treats his guitar like a favored old bloodhound, and his voice, a sort of falsetto growl, is in only-a-mother-could-love-it territory. But he uses these things to create surprisingly loopy and engaging albums. Nothing serious, of course, or ground breaking: just part of the texture of a delightfully varied musical time. Juned and Come open both shows. Saturday, 6 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine; 275-6800; sold-out. Sunday, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James T. Crump.