Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Electric Ballroom, Camden

While the Pavement reunion is hogging the column inches, no one has really stopped to consider if we actually need a Pavement reunion. Sure, they are one of the defining bands of the 90's, but unlike the Pixies, Pavement perhaps reached the dizziest heights they are likely to within their own life span. And let's not forget, main man Stephen Malkmus has had a consistently successful solo career since Pavement fell apart.

His self-titled debut was solid, building the Pavement style towards a more polished production. Pig Lib formally introduced The Jicks and is likely to feature in my albums-of-the-decade list. Face The Truth unleashed his inner guitar hero, while recent entry Real Emotional Trash disclosed Malkmus' love of The Wire. Can this guy get any cooler? Apparently there's no need, as he quickly re-establishes himself on stage tonight as the ultimate 90's indie rocker.

Tonight's gig is part of a three show warm-up tour in preparation for an appearance at this weekend's ATP festival - which seems to be the band's first live outing sine May. I've often wondered what the band gets out of a warm-up show and tonight I found out. The track list was mostly a little foreign to my ears - and I consider myself pretty well revised. Less known album tracks got a dusting off, while the 'hits' were largely overlooked. When stand-out It Kills kicked off, the crown soared for perhaps the first time of the evening - but that quickly passed as the band worked the song, re-finding their feet.

While the sound was crisp and clear - making the most of Malkmus' guitar virtuosity - the deafening volume didn't help and songs were drowned out. The band creaked and shuffled, re-started and re-tuned, with stage banter often making the gig seem more like band practice. So that's what warm-ups are for then. A lesson well learnt, I just wish I was there to see them at ATP.


11th Dec 2009 - Tumblr







Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Real Emotional Trash