Culture / Music

Harnessed Hopes – Pavement at The Enmore


I don’t care what you suggest in response to this, but Pavement’s The Hexx has the best guitar solo of all time. I’ve made lifelong friends over this argument and will not be swayed by Hendrix, Van Halen, May, Gilmour or whoever, for me, it’s Malkmus. Seeing Pavement live was not something I thought I’d have the opportunity to do, given they broke up in 1999, so this was a significant and surreal concert for my companion and I. And obviously sold out.

There can be a sense of trepidation when you see a band that has reformed, but given Malkmus never really stopped, with various solo records and The Jicks, there was a great sense of assurance. After breaking us in with Motion Suggests, the room opened wide to Gold Soundz as we felt like the girl drunk in the Autumn sun. Pavement has a unique mix of personalities; with Bob Nastanovich’s youthful screaming enthusiasm set against new keyboard player Rebecca Cole’s solid anchoring presence, all lead by Malkmus’ voice, "that you’d just know anywhere."

It's hard to describe how a sound that was so definitively 90s has now become so classic and timeless, it didn’t really feel nostalgic as Pavement’s sound hasn’t really aged, although most of the males in the audience had. Given the recent reissue of Terror Twillight, their fifth and final record, I was expecting that record to dominate the set. However, it was masterfully curated and diverse. Stereo was perfectly placed at the front end of the set to shout along and dance to, and get subsequently reprimanded for. Shady Lane’s more romantic tone really spoke to certain parts of the audience, because yes, ‘you’re so beautiful to look at when you cry.’ The dumped 23-year-old in me did cry when the band played Here, it was as heartbreakingly scuzzy as I could have hoped for, with the perfect level of controlled pain. I may have cried when we hit the 20th song of the set, The Hexx, but that was out-ragged, loud, beauty.

Pavement were undeniably tight as a band, really centred around their effortless drummer, but with the confidence to digress into moments of controlled chaos, and as my companion will no doubt agree, raw sexuality. It would have been sacrilegious for them not to have played Rage Life, which closed the set and left everyone on a high for an encore. Would there have been a riot if the encore didn’t have Summer Babe and Cut Your Hair? Possibly. They were worth waiting decades to see, and I hope we don’t have to wait so long again. It is also worth noting, that when a band is this good, nothing else at the show matters except working out how to sling an SG off your body that well…


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