Stephen Malkmus | 04.03 | Boston, MA

By: Andrew Bruss

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks :: 04.03.08 :: Paradise Rock Club :: Boston, MA

Stephen Malkmus
Pavement is a thing of the past, and The Jicks are the future. That's the message Stephen Malkmus sent to a sold-out crowd in Boston. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks performed almost every track off their latest release, Real Emotional Trash (released March 4 on Matador Records), an album that tells tales of love, murder and distance with some tripped-out lyrics that are certainly up for interpretation.

Since Pavement disbanded, Malkmus has spent several years trying to find his solo voice. He didn't do too well when he tried to swing the neo-folk thing, but the George Harrison-meets-Tony Iommi sound he and his group are currently rocking is a perfect storm of harsh riffs, experimental jams and mellow moments.

One of the earliest examples of this formula was a tear through Trash opener "Dragonfly Pie." The tune features a powerful-yet-easy going lead guitar lick that brings to mind the opening lick from Black Sabbaths "War Pigs." The verses had a dark, looming sound that instantly transitioned into an up-beat "Octopus's Garden" style chorus that demonstrated Malkmus' knack for writing pop tunes.

They followed "Dragonfly Pie" with Trash's grand finale, "Wicked Wanda." As much credit as Malkmus is given for being an "indie rock god," this tune demonstrated how truly under-appreciated he is as a technical guitarist. Much like Prince and Billy Corgan, Malkmus can tweak and maim his six-string in a way that will mesmerize any audience. But, given his frontman status and songwriting prowess, his guitar skills rarely make the headlines.

"Baltimore" gave the rest of the band a chance to shine. During a mid-tune jam, Joanna Bolme kept the pace with some articulate walking basslines, while Janet Weiss (drums), formerly of Sleater-Kinney upped the ante with some Keith Moon-esque drum fills that would put Meg White to shame any day of the week.

Things reached their peak with "Hopscotch Willie" a murder ballad that utilized a loud-soft dynamic between the choruses and verses that made the crowd go wild. Malkmus gently sang, "Hopscotch Willie swore he was framed," and then went into howl mode to fully communicate "it was the classic example of a fall guy." The back and forth between sweet and somber to give-em-hell vocals raised the energy level in the room as the crowd struggled to keep up.

Malkmus and Co. wrapped the show with an encore of "Real Emotional Trash" that they stretched out with an extensive experimental jam that brought to mind some old Velvet Underground bootlegs. Some fans may have been a bit disappointed that such a heavy emphasis was placed on his newest work, but with Pavement a thing of the past, the material he brought to Boston demonstrated that Malkmus still has quite the future ahead of him.

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[Published on: 4/16/08]

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Mark Price former NBA star Wed 4/16/2008 01:39PM
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Mark Price former NBA star

NICE, Malkums is the shit. Pavement was awesome, and so is The jinks.

Mightyquinn starstarstarstar Wed 4/16/2008 02:11PM
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Sweet. There's a great review of the MassMoCA show on that makes it seem like that was a little more personal of a show than in the Big Beantown.

johnnygoff Wed 4/16/2008 06:25PM
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thanx or the story bruss.

what ever to malkmus and the million-dollar bashers? (i have a sweet version of them doing "Maggie's Farm")

Jukebox Hero Wed 4/16/2008 06:58PM
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Jukebox Hero

I'm glad this review highlighted Malkmus's guitar playing. He is one of the most under-appreciated guitarists in the business and can play everything from scorching lead to intricate yet mellow rhythm. (Check out his work on the Silver Jews' American Water for a great example of the latter, as well as just an overall fabulous album).

Also, the power that is Janet Weiss should not be underestimated. I've seen them a few times in the last fear and she impresses me more each time. NOt to mention that she's pretty damn cute.

johnnygoff- Malkmus & the million dollar bashers (w/ the guitarist and drummer from Sonic Youth) was just put together for the I'm Not There soundtrack, which is really worth checking out if you like that track. Especially look out for the "Goin' to Acapulco" by Jim James and Calexico.

Dgold starstarstarstarstar Tue 5/6/2008 10:17PM
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thanks for the story.... Been listening to the Real Emotional Trash album a lot, in fact "Baltimore" is playing right now