Pavement at the Pabst Theater
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.
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.