I've decided to break up my thoughts on the toronto island festival because it was such an epic situation. In equal parts musically and culturally. Foremost on my mind though, and above else, and I just really want to kind of rant about was the Pavement show. It was in a word
ok, all caps, it's own paragraph. maybe that is over the top. however, it was definitely the best show I've seen since radiohead. I think it's safe to say that I'm an above average Pavement fan, but that said I sort of had low expectations for their show. I hadn't heard too much since they started touring. I even had a friend from Seattle see them, and didn't really hear anything about it. Pavement quite frankly are not what I consider heavy, or experimental, or groundbreaking ... anything that people would lose their shit to.
But they totally rocked the fuck out of toronto island. most people there might not agree as the average attendee seemed like they may have been only vaguely familiar with the band, and were just hanging around to get their money's worth.
It can't be denied that Stephen Malkmus is an amazing guitarist though. He shredded the shit out of the songs, and rocked them far more heavily than I expected. Oh, and did I mention how epic their set list is. 26 fucking songs. I think most bands that headline tend to do a lot of filler, bullshit, let each member do a 20 minute bullshit solo ... not pavement ... you get your fucking looney's worth man.
That's not to say that they didn't jam out a bunch. If you've listened to Pavement then you know they definitely do stretches of sonic chaos in many of their songs. However, when a band reunites after 12 years apart the fans want to hear the damn classics, and the classics, a lot of them are 3 - 4 minute geeky sing alongs. I keep comparing them to weezer, but there really is no comparison. Weezer has 1 album that people sing along to. The next best album they have they don't play songs off of because it's when Rivers was depressed, and the rest of their 90 albums have one song that corporate radio shoved down everyone's throat so they know the words and those get played as well. But the songs blow.
Pavement's discography is bound by great indie pop songs. While walking towards the ferry and listening to Pavement play out the end of their set during "stereo" one of my lady friends mentioned "oh, i know this song". No shit Shirlock. And their show definitely stood up to that test.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I could actually say about the mannerisms of the band is the way Malkmus did a bunch of really silly rock star moves that somehow came across as tongue in cheek, but perhaps I only think that because I read the lyrics too closely, and maybe he has turned into a weird dude who thinks playing a 2 note guitar solo behind his head is actually cool ... that's not mockery, that's just honesty. He also pulled the 'swing the guitar around the body' and the 'play the guitar extra high' moves as well. Those were most notable. Besides that the band seemed to get along, and kind of seemed like they were picking songs on the fly as they set into 'starlings of the slipstream' but openly debated playing 'perfume-v' (played later on in the night). I thought that was kind of awesome. I hope luck has it in store for me to catch them again some time. I thought they were absolutely amazing. Of course this is all relative if you don't know their music. If you are invigorated by this post I would definitely suggest getting into either Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain which was my first and favorite album, or check out the new 'best of comp' Quarantine the Past. It's actually a really good mix.
All in all the set was real treat. Check out the post at brooklyn vegan since they're a reputable blog site, and they covered this event much better than I did. Plus they include a set list, some live video ... and they're hipster. I'm just a d-bag.
An unforgettable night nonetheless. Thank you pavement.