Pavement announced their reunion about a year ago and revealed this Boston date about six months ago. In the time between those announcements, it seemed like people went from being super-jazzed about the prospect of Pavement playing live shows again to seeming a little lukewarm on the whole thing. Maybe it was the mixed reviews, the odd choice of venue, or cynicism about the band's avowed cash-in mentality, but in the days leading up to the show, I started to grow concerned that this whole thing would be a gigantic letdown.
I needn't have worried. Though I'm still not a fan of the Agganis Arena - I'm fairly certain that crowd could have fit into the House of Blues without much difficulty - Pavement have found a way to adapt their songs to create intimacy where it wouldn't normally exist: "In the Mouth a Desert" became pogo-able, "We Dance" and "Grounded" were turned into campfire singalongs. Stephen Malkmus showed off the slick guitar heroics he's been refining with his band the Jicks over the past ten years during "Loretta's Scars" and "Fight This Generation." And Bob Nastanovich is still Pavement's secret weapon, filling in with shouted vocal embellishments in addition to his role as percussionist.
Maybe I was bowled over by the nostalgic bliss of hearing songs like "Gold Soundz," "Perfume-V," and other favorites that I didn't get to hear them play back in the old days (though I did catch them on the Terror Twilight tour way back when). But really, my complaints are of the nit-picky variety (seriously, "Brinx Job" and not, like, "Texas Never Whispers" or "AT+T" or "Shady Lane" or "Zurich is Stained"?) They were a little sloppy and shaggy in spots, but I don't know that precision or virtuosity was ever a part of the band's appeal. Really, they sounded like they were having fun, and when it was over, it still felt like I'd just shared something cool with a (relatively) small group of people.
Pavement, "Rattled by the Rush"
Set list:Silence KidStarlings on the SlipstreamTwo StatesTrigger CutIn the Mouth a DesertStereoDate with IkeaStop BreathingGold SoundzConduit for SaleLoretta's ScarsGroundedSummer BabeFrontwardsUnfairFight this GenerationPerfume-VWe DanceBrinx JobFinCut Your Hair---Rattled bu the RushKennel DistrictRange Life---Spit on a StrangerShoot the SingerHere