Music 

REVIEW: STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS @ THE PARADISE 2.25.14

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Photos by Tim Bugbee | @tinnitus_photo

“How’s winter? You like skating with your friends, playing hockey, drinking inside, arguing with your woman?” asked Malkmus. This was the first of many wry, loosey-goosey asides. He was chatty throughout, showing off his weirdo charm just as much as his guitar pyrotechnics.

After romping around Europe, the Jicks brought their Wig Out At Jagbags tour to the ‘Dise, spicing up the average Tuesday with some tasty jams.  They kicked things off with “Jenny and the Ess Dog,” a cut from Malkmus’s self-titled debut.

The first song was a throwback to 2001, but much of the set revolved around the new album. While it’s a pretty solid record, the crowd’s relative unfamiliarity with the material showed—the energy failed to pick up any real momentum and heads only sporadically bopped.

But then came “Senator,” a caffeinated rocker from the Beck-produced Mirror Traffic. It was exactly the jumpstart the Jicks needed. Malkmus stormed around the stage, making his guitar strap optional in favor of over-the-head Hendrix wizardry.

The snide remarks didn’t only come from SM. At one point, Mike Clark, the rhythm guitarist, asked, “You guys have a score update?” Malkmus’s passion for sports is well known (and highly unusual for indie rock), so Mike’s tongue was firmly planted in cheek.

The Jicks rolled on, busting out “Cinnamon and Lesbians,” one of my favorite tracks from the new album. Malkmus’s lyrics are as playful as ever: “I’ve been tripping my face off since breakfast, taking in this windswept afternoon.”

While the Jicks are certainly nothing to sneeze at, there’s an underlying wish to hear Pavement jams that always simmers. On Tuesday night, that wish came true in spades.

Two songs into the encore, the band tore into the opening notes of “Summer Babe” and the packed Paradise erupted. People started jumping around, the volume seemed louder and smiles spread like smallpox through the Sudan. If you didn’t get the Pavement reference, you can Google it.

A few weeks back, I spoke with Joanna Bolme, the bassist, after the Jicks had just returned from Europe. After seeing tons of Pavement laced setlists, I asked her how the Jicks felt about playing tunes from Steve’s old band.

“At this point, we’ve been around longer than Pavement—and they’re not particularly complex songs,” she said. “So it’s kind of like, ‘yea, I’ll learn that one and play it tonight.’ And I was a Pavement fan, so I like all the songs. It’s pretty fun.”

They followed “Summer Babe” with “Stereo,” upping the ante of fun and making stoic indie rockers momentarily lose their shit. It was a rollicking end to a night that at times felt too much like a School Night.

About GEORGE SCHLESINGER

George knows that Wu Tang rules everything around him. His interests include freestyling on fairways, gourmet snacking and neck-breaking beats.
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2 Responses to REVIEW: STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS @ THE PARADISE 2.25.14

  1. T T says:

    i’ve only seen Malkmus once before tuesday night, so i don’t really know his usual style, but is it just me or did he seem wasted? it was a decent show, but i thought he killed it way harder at the Royale show in support of Mirror Traffic. Seemed like he had his shit together at that one.

  2. George George says:

    He seemed a little sloshed, but shambling around the stage is also his default mode. I agree though, I liked the Mirror Traffic show at Royale a tad better.