Sunday, July 18, 2010

Live: Pavement, 6/25/10

Live Review:

Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA 6/25/2010

Maybe Pavement ran out of money, or maybe they just got sick of not being Pavement. I'm guessing the latter. But despite what an un-"indie" and masturbatory undertaking a reunion tour can be, Pavement would be in character not giving a fuck either way. For those unfamiliar, Pavement's greatest non-musical accomplishment was igniting an amusingly one-sided feud with Billy Corgan over a line in this song (seriously, Billy?). The fact that Pavement endures, while Corgan seems to be keeping very busy embarrassing himself in public, is testament to the triumph of not taking yourself too seriously.

At the risk of diving into a gaping nostalgia trap, I went all the way to Berkeley for this one. These days I go to shows to hear music I haven't heard before, so it was a different experience, being one of about a thousand people who showed up to do precisely the opposite.

Then again, timeless as their music is, Pavement's heyday was before my time. I'd never seen them live before. As I suspected all along, that's the way their music is meant to be heard. So this was a new experience for me after all. What justifies their oh-so-90's slacker aesthetic is just how good they are, making it all look like they're not even trying. Especially Stephen Malkmus, who's got some amazing guitar chops but never tries to call attention to himself with that lookatmelookatmei'msucharockstar stage presence so pervasive among rock stars.

I could go on gushing, but I wouldn't be helping my case. The moral of the story is that seeing Pavement live is one for your bucket list. Some key data on this show: Original drummer Gary Young appeared and played for a few songs. I didn't catch their complete set list, but it included:

Cut Your Hair
Gold Sounds
Zurich is Stained
Rattled by The Rush
Range Life
Shady Lane
We Dance
Stop Breathin
Trigger Cut
Box Elder
(a new song?)
Two States
Summer Babe (Winter Version)

The opener was Quasi, a band I respect, though their music has never done a lot for me. It's always fun to see Janet Weiss's chops on the drums (See also: Sleater-Kinney, plus Malkmus' other band, The Jicks). This time, Quasi included Joanna Bolme on the bass (also a Jick).

A little nostalgia for your dome: