Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Play Crisp Set on Crisp Night at Black Cat

This is a flat-out hilarious video interview I stumbled upon from a few years ago by a FOX News host who grovels at the godly feet of Stephen Malkmus. I don't know about reporting on reality, but there's no doubt FOX News knows how to entertain.

Segueing awkwardly from the video to another entertaining performance ... Malkmus and his band The Jicks played a crisp and rewarding set Friday night at Black Cat in Washington D.C. (Rachel, Peter, and Fran were also in attendance.) It was the first time I've seen him since the Pavement reunion shows in Central Park in 2010.

The Jicks were in fine form. Joanna Bolme floats on a cloud of bass, Jake Morris is a ball of energy on drums, and Mike Clark provides the Spiral Stairs-type backing foil to Malkmus' guitar-god heroics and light-hearted lyrics and banter.

One can never go wrong with one of his solo-career highlights "Jenny & the Ess-Dog" to begin the set. Some of his first horns ever, on "Chartjunk" from new album Wig Out at Jagbags, was one of the best of many played from the release.

Great tunes from 2011's Mirror Traffic dominated the mid-portion, including "Tigers," "No One Is (As I Are Be)," and "Senator," as did Jagbags killer tracks "Lariat" and "Cinnamon and Lesbians."

One complaint is that there could have been more than one song off Malkmus' perfect 2001 solo debut.

But there was no complaining on the encore. The band has apparently been playing different covers every night on tour, and our surprises were no let down on this night: the Velvet Underground's "Beginning to See the Light" and Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well."

Then came perhaps my favorite Pavement song off my favorite Pavement release: "Lions (Linden)" from the Watery Domestic EP (which Pavement unfortunately did not play at the reunion show I saw). The night ended with a surprise for diehards like myself: "From Now On" off obscure early Pavement release Westing (By Musket and Sextant).

****1/2 out of ***** stars

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