Brian Whitney

Pavement at the Pabst Theater

By - Sep 16th, 2010 09:26 am
Get a daily rundown of the top stories on Urban Milwaukee

Image by CJ Foeckler

How, exactly, am I supposed to review my favorite band of all time? Very carefully, I suppose. Pavement, back together after over 10 years in exile, the band that embodied a  generation of independent artists better than any other, playing what easily could have been the kind of nostalgia show that seemingly every important indie band of the last 25 years is playing these days, did not disappoint. They played a diverse set consisting of a surprising number of songs from the early part of their career, though every album was accounted for at least once.

The key word to describe the set would be “loose;” songs were rewritten on the fly (such as the instrumental version of “Extradition” that just kind of happened, mid-set), guitar parts occasionally were left unplayed, lyrics skipped when the singer wasn’t close enough to the microphone. It all added to the appeal, though. I mean, this is Pavement, not Dream Theater, and it was the kind of looseness one associated with the band when they were originally active and the kind of thing you generally don’t see at reunion shows; it appeared, at least, as though the band genuinely loved the songs and were happy to be able to play them again.

Highlights: Stephen Malkmus’ dance during the second verse of “Starlings of the Slipstream;” the lyric “the leaders are dead…there’s no women in Alaska” being accidentally semi-relevant in the modern political climate; Bob Nastanovich’s background vocals (and occasional foreground vocals); Malkmus and Steve West’s between song banter about “smoking only one kind of pot: the good kind;” the spontaneous version of “Brinx Job” that erupted during the encore.

Eventually Malkmus will go back to the Jicks, Spiral Stairs will go back to his solo career, and Mark Ibold will go back to his duties with Sonic Youth and that will be that. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get another chance to see a band that’s, not exactly at the height of their powers, but definitely still very powerful indeed. If you balked at the ticket price or had something else to do, you blew it, plain and simple, but there’s always an outside chance that they come to Chicago or even Milwaukee again before this is all said and done, and I urge you to go if you have the chance. It will be worth it.

0 thoughts on “Review: Pavement at the Pabst Theater”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice and concise

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us