Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2012-08-06

Queuing outside the venue I hear someone say that they hope Stephen Malkmus will do a surprise set of Pavement songs, perhaps even the whole of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. They concede that this is unlikely as we get out of some particularly cold January weather and pour into the sold-out gig room at the Brudenell Social Club.

Admittedly, it would be great to hear tracks such as ‘Cut Your Hair’, ‘Stereo’ and ‘Range Life’ live but that’s what Pavement reunions are for. Malkmus has been with the Jicks for over a decade now and, as further proved tonight; Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks are a cosmic psych-pop force to be reckoned with.

The band open with the old-punk baiting ‘Rumble at the Rainbo’ from this month’s wonderful Wig Out at Jagbags record, and you immediately know that you’re in for a good show. Malkmus proceeds to lead the band through an impressive, Jicks’ career-spanning set. We get the brilliantly cool ‘Animal Midnight’ from 2003s Pig Lib (“Sacrifice for you was just flirtation and friendship a cold convenience”) sitting comfortably next to the murky groove of new track ‘Shibboleth’.

An early highlight comes in the form of ‘(Do Not Feed the) Oyster’- the band appropriately chanting “Under the grou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ound/ Underground!” to their assembled devotees.  The Jicks deserve every enthusiastic, sweaty-palmed round of applause they get (and they get plenty). Who couldn’t love a song as thrilling as ‘Senator’?

It’s perhaps too easy to forget what a fantastically inventive guitarist Malkmus is, but watching him play live is an absolute joy. It’s very much a band effort, though, and you couldn’t get a more well-honed set of musicians than The Jicks. Second guitarist Mike Clark wastes no opportunity to pull a guitar-hero pose, while drummer Jake Morris and bassist Joanna Bolme provide a suitably bouncy undertow. The lengthy title track from Real Emotional Trash shows the band's psychedelic chops and is a reminder, if one were needed, that nothing in The Jicks world is ever too straightforward.

It’s encouraging that the new material sounds so great live too. The Jicks aren’t quite ready to rest on their laurels just yet. ‘Lariat’ is effortlessly brilliant while ‘Planetary Motion’ remains a joyous psych-glam stomp. The band's clear enthusiasm for what they do is contagious. Just in case, though, they give us Pavement gem ‘Harness Your Hopes’ in the encore. Seems you really can have it all.

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