Beautiful chaos theory in action
Pavement 2010

I reckon about 80% of the couples in the audience tonight have had sex to 'Wowee Zowee' on several occasions since it's release in 1999 and of them about 80% are losing the will to live by song number three. Welcome to the beautiful chaos theory in action that is Pavement live. For those who haven't seen them perform in the flesh before and have only taken time to listen to the bands last three albums tonight will be a true test of resolve.

For those of us that did have the pleasure of witnessing the worlds crappiest musicians creating the planet's most delightful and joyous music, tonight's performance was textbook Pavement and a dream come true after a 10 year hiatus.

As the drummer lost hold of the first of many projectile drum sticks several seconds into the first song we knew we were in for a classic set. The mere fact that they have seemingly decided against any of that rehearsal nonsense and ploughed on oblivious to any expectations that the audience has for an act absent for innumerable years tells me I was right all along. Pavement are a band apart.

I remember going to see them back in '99 at the Astoria with a drummer friend, who found the whole experience pretty distressing, "Can't the guy just keep time?!" Nope, and that's the whole point. Who cares?

Pavement hit their best game on three or four tracks during tonight’s first of many sold out shows at the Brixton Academy, and for those 20 minutes of the 90 minute set they are a lesson to any new band looking for a way to break the mould. "Cut your Hair" and "Shady Lane" are tonight’s highlights, as are the handful of tunes sung by guitarist Spiral Stairs, if only because frontman Steve Malkmus does his best to distract the audience with some rather childlike fucking around with guitar (think five-year-old kid waiting in the wings whilst his best mate has his time to shine).

It's a greatest hits set if such a thing exists in the crazy world of Malkmus and Co. and they still didn't play my favourite. No matter, in this musically obtuse moment I'm glad they didn't. Pavement defy the conventions and frankly I'd be amazed if they knew what those conventions are.

As a classic Virgoan male I am fastidiously tidy, very calculated and have borderline OCD tendencies, apparently. In this regard Pavement are my secret messy drawer filled with all the crap and trinkets that say everything about me and reveal the chaotic layers beneath my just so exterior.

Words by Jason Bick


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