I was looking forward to seeing Pavement live, ever since tickets went on sale back in March. I arrived at Agganis Arena, checked out the merch table, debated on whether or not to get a t shirt (I didn’t) and grabbed a much needed Harpoon IPA, then made my way down to the floor seats where Jenny and Johnny were already onstage.
This is a collaboration between Jenny Lewis and her boyfriend, singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice. I’m not really a fan of music that has a “twangy” sound, so I really couldn’t get into them, although there were quite a few people in the crowd seemed to like it as well as shouting their love to Jenny. To be honest, I would have preferred to see No Age or Times New Viking open as they were doing on other parts of this tour.
Speaking of the crowd, it seemed to be mostly older and there were an awful lot of pregnant women. Like, an unusual amount. I’m not quite sure what was going on, but it was weird. I have a theory as to the timeframe between when tickets went on sale and now, but I’ll keep that to myself. Also, the whole back section of seats were completely covered up for some reason. The illusion of filling an arena? Who knows.
After a short setup time, Pavement came out to much cheering and applause. I noticed the lighting felt like being in a mexican restaurant, hanging over the stage and and lots of reds and yellows. Does Stephen Malkmus age at all? He still looked really young. The rest of the band, not soo much. Quite a difference from the 90’s Pavement I still picture in my head.
They opened with “Silence Kit” from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, and went through a rather long set that started out rocking, but seemed to get a little slow half way through. Malkmus’s vocals seemed kind of low for a lot of the songs, while Bob Nastanovich did more of the screaming and vuvuzela playing (yes, really!). Don’t get me wrong, I loved it! They sounded great and really seemed to enjoy being back on stage in front of an audience. They ended with “Cut Your Hair”, with the whole crowd singing along, but then again, how could you not?
Then they came back for 2 encores. The first encore started with “Rattled by the Rush”, which sounded awesome live! This song always gets stuck in my head, but I was happy to hear it!
They finally ended with Slanted and Enchanted‘s “Here”. The band thanked the crowd and waved as they walked off stage. People were chanting for 1 more song but the house lights came up and that was it. I heard several people question why they didn’t play “Shady Lane”, which I was wondering myself. Maybe next time?
Overall, Pavement brought a fun night of 90’s indie rock for those of us who never got to see them live before, as well as for those who did. Most people left very satisfied and even the band seemed to be having a great time playing again. This makes me even sadder that I won’t be going to the Matador at 21 concert in Las Vegas, but there will be other events and I look forward to catching Pavement again sometime soon.