Oct 2, 2011

Stephen Malkmus is 45 years old, and I support that.

"This is for the losers in the back," harked Stephen Malkmus, with the Jinks standing at his side, on stage in the Ram's Head in Baltimore.  I turned around to check out the undeserving suckers who received Stephen Malkmus's forfeiting pledge, but only to turn to no one but the graffitied wall.


Stephen Malkmus is 45 years old, and I support that.  

So it’s extrememly unfortunate that Malkmus and the Jinks are being held hostage to Pavement expectations.  I, as everyone else knows, that Pavement was one on the greatest, most creative, relentlessly-devoted-to-their-art bands that english speaking humans have ever had the opportunity to enjoy.  Routinely, I can be discovered listening to Slanted Enchanted, Brighten the Corners, Crooked Rain, and Wowee Zowee (not so much Terror Twilight), decades after their initial release.  And they still haven’t been fully depleted of their aesthetics, as every song reveals more  characteristics that are yet to be discovered.  So, I can understand instinctual yearning for more Pavement, as they are the most fulfilling band for every music connoisseur to experience.  

But, to withhold the artist from continuosly morphing and evolving, to cease the never ending journey from total enlightment, from a lifelong’s worth of searching for inner peace and self discovery, is oppressive.  Oppression, one of Pavement’s major themes and teachings, which all of their starving fans are now holding Malkmus to.   

Malkmus is still making excellent songs.  “Tigers” is a unique country folky bum song, which i felt compelled to start square dancing in the aforementioned Birkenstocks.   And then “Stick figures in love,” which caused impulsive, bodily movements from the entire audience, regardless of lacking the exhaustive overdrive familiar with most Malkmus material.  But, ever for the nostalgic Pavement fans, there was still plenty to roar about, as “Senator” invades the airwaves with as much angst and aggression as any Rage Against the Machine song, along with “Spazz” and “Tune Grief” being favorable, heavy hitters for their performance as well, getting a strong motion from what appeared to be a stiff crowd.  

But, confessionally, “Forever 28” maybe the most important performance, subliminally messaging to the crowd that, “even though I am 45, married, with 2 children, and am established, and live in a respectable home, I still have the punk intentions at heart.”  Which, having read the lyrics to “Forever 28,” one would understand that the song is about being brutally honest, without the hindrance of maturity and respect for the stupidity of others and their inexplicable emotions getting in the way for what’s really on his mind.  

Certainly, this is not Pavement.  And nor should anyone attending these shows, or listening to these albums, expect Pavement.  This is Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, and from listening to these shows and albums, it should be encouraged to know that Stephen Malkmus can still release his unforgiving honesty in the most bizarre and originally exposing messages that only he could release.  The show was amazing, watching him on stage, fully enamored with his talent, switching back and forth from fender to gibson, capable of remembering every obscure word for all of his delightful songs.    

And, even for the Pavement fans, that were there anticipating a raucous show with kittens and donuts being flung headstrong into the wind, Malkmus and the Jinks were able to deliver one of the wildest encores I’ve ever been a part of, strumming the chords to the majestic “Wild Thing,” like it was song straight from the underground of a punk secret society meeting.  Malkmus jammed, as did the rest of the Jinks, who pleased everyone in the audience, even the losers in the back.  


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