[NOTE: I wrote this review of Stephen Malkmus’s concert two days before it actually took place. Why? I was bored and wanted to see if I could influence my concert-going experience with the self-fulfilling prophecy. If there are any differences between this fake concert and the real one, I will revisit this post, strikethrough all the lies, and update it with the correct info in a red font.]
I’m not really a big Stephen Malkmus fan. I liked his first solo album and Real Emotional Trash is growing on me, but I skipped over his middle two releases and didn’t feel bad about it. I really only went to this concert in a feeble attempt to make up for the fact that I didn’t bother going to Pavement’s last ever U.S. show. According to my journal entry from that day, I stayed home and watched The Deer Hunter instead of driving the 15 minutes to Bogart’s. I’ve always regretted that, so I decided to lessen the regret with a Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks concert.
I still feel stupid for skipping Pavement, but I feel a little bit better about it now. Having said that, I must admit I
wasn’t all that impressed with what I saw. don’t know what all the fuss is about. It wasn’t a bad show by any means, but it paled in comparison with most I’ve seen so far this year. There’s just something about Stephen Malkmus that I don’t like. I’m not exactly sure what it is. Oh yeah, now I got it…I dislike the way the man looks. All night long I had my teeth clenched because I wanted to jump up onstage and punch him in the neck. I hate his floppy hair and his lanky arms. Stupid pretty-boy indie sex machine. (Sure, Stephen Malkmus has floppy hair and lanky arms, but those things didn’t bother me much. I didn’t feel the urge to cause him any personal injury. He was actually one of the least annoying people in the venue. And I’m happy to say that he’s not the pretty boy I thought he’d be. His face is the exact same shape as Bert’s from Sesame Street…far too narrow to be considered aesthetically pleasing.)
As far as the setlist goes, I was happy to hear the vast majority of Real Emotional Trash. Highlights for me were “Gardenia”, “Baltimore”, and the title track. The title track takes awhile to get going, but once it does, it’s a blistering guitar workout.
It must’ve lasted a good 12-15 minutes. (It lasted 10 minutes, which is exactly how long it lasts on the album). I’m not usually a fan of guitar wankery, but “Real Emotional Trash” kept my interest the entire time and I didn’t think of Trey Anastasio even once. (Because I made the mistake of writing about Trey Anastasio in my prediction review, I ended up thinking about him the entire time they were playing this song. That was stupid of me.)
Other highlights for me included “Baby C’mon”
and “Pencil Rot” from Face the Truth and “Jenny & the Ess-Dog” “Church on White” from the self-titled debut. I would’ve liked to have heard “Phantasies“ or “The Hook”, but I guess it wasn’t to be. Hey, I’m not complaining …much. It turned out to be a pretty good show. It only cost $15, and just as I was beginning to get bored, the Jicks left the stage and the main set was over. The two song encore set was some of the best music all night. I was particularly fond of the Mungo Jerry cover that ended the show.
Oh, and Janet Weiss kicked ass on drums. Seeing her perform live again was a personal highlight. The personal lowlight of the evening was the following conversation that took place between the two guys standing to my left:
Short Guy: Hey, you wanna go over to the Holiday Inn Express after this?
Short Guy’s Friend: They gotta bar?
Short Guy: Nah, but they got women and beds.
As if there are women at the Holiday Inn Express waiting for little boys to come over and make sweet love to them. Short Guy reminded me so much of my hated freshman year roommate that I almost crammed my red pen in his ear. Fortunately for everyone, he left my stabbing range…just after shouting a request for “Cut Your Hair”. Asshole!
Here’s the setlist:
Main set: Dragonfly Pie/Gardenia/Baby C’mon/Vanessa From Queens/Baltimore/We Can’t Help You/Real Emotional Trash/It Kills/Troubbble/Cold Son/Out of Reaches/Hopscotch Willie
Encore: Church on White/Alright, Alright, Alright (Mungo Jerry)
John Vanderslice was the opening act. I caught
the last couple songs of his set, but they didn’t do anything for me part of one song through a brick wall, but I didn’t hear enough to make a judgment.