Thursday, 13 May 2010

Review: Pavement, Brixton Academy.


I finally saw Pavement last night on their reunion tour. Pavement were my favourite band in my mid-teens. Lackadaisical drums, drawled poetic Americana lyrics, slouchy guitars...what could be more perfect a soundtrack for a kid trying to look cool on the streets of Hull? I first saw them supporting Sonic Youth in Leeds when I was, ooh, sixteen? We snuck in and watched them soundchecking and couldn't believe our luck. (Looking back, it was probably fairly easy for a group of sixteen year old girls to sneak into bands soundchecking. Hm.)

So last night was very much a nostalgia thing for me. I hadn't bothered relistening to any of their albums; I rarely like to go back to that era, musically, because I listened those records to death. So I know every note anyway.

And they were just perfect! And when I say perfect, I mean, perfectly shambolic, as Pavement are. I've never seen a band actually nearly fall apart on stage and lose it in the middle of a song before. Which they did last night. So that was a first. But then they played Box Elder, which Steve Malkmus* introduced by saying, 'This was covered by a band from Yorkshire called The Wedding Present, which John Peel played. Without him we wouldn't be standing here now.' Gold Sounds sounded poignant and lovely, everyone shouted 'No Big Hair!' during Cut Your Hair, Range Life was the perfect encore.

It was great to see the characters back together. Bob Nastanovich racing around the stage screaming his lyrics like a devil dressed in bank manager civvies when not on second drums. Mark Ibold riffing with Steve Malkmus. (Mark Ibold it turns out is now a bartender at The Great Jones Café in NYC. I'm wondering if it was him who told me it was Fred Neil singing Dolphins, that time.)

I'm thinking of going again tonight and chancing it outside for a ticket. That's how much I enjoyed it. But perhaps one nostalgic trip down memory lane to a past that is now almost half of my lifetime away is enough.

*Much as it might compromise the integrity and quality of this review, I have to point out that Stephen Malkmus is definitely Still Fit. Despite that questionable low cut American Apparel tee. (I think they're all kinds of wrong on a man. But, in this instance, I will let it pass.)



  1. great photos! also, i met the Malkmus once in New Zealand and it was magical. i have to agree with you on the t-shirt though... man cleavage suits no one.

  2. low cut ts on men are just revolting in my view. Not sure why but they are.

  3. Love Pavement. Fantastic pictures! I have a Panasonic DMC TZ7 which was a Christmas present. God knows what I've done with the instructions but I have no clue how to change anything on it. I just mess around with turning the flash on and off. Looking at your great pictures I need to read the instructions urgently! xx

  4. Pavement's best trait is the songwriting, a fact lost on many. A pure reaction to grunge, and all those Pearl Jam wannabe bands of the 90's. I saw them in Sydney, at it was the best concert I've ever been to. Thier version of "Fin" that night was the best sound live I've ever heard, and I'm an avid concert goer for over 25 years.