On Thursday, I met my buddy Rob at the Paradise to see Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. The show had been sold out for weeks and Malkmus has gotten a lot of good press for his latest album, Real Emotional Trash, which is excellent. Over the last several years, Malkmus' solo efforts have really stretched beyond the fractured indie rock of his legendary band Pavement. He and his current band have really embraced a jam-friendly approach with mucho guitar solos and songs that often surpass the 5-minute mark. Malkmus was in a chatty mood Thursday night, something I don't recall from the times I saw him with Pavement ('94 at the old Venus de Milo and '99 at the Roxy). He seems a lot more relaxed these days. The band ripped through a 100-minute set propelled by Malkmus' extended solos and the powerhouse drumming of Janet Weiss (formerly of Sleater-Kinney), who was amazing. I've got some S-K albums and have always been impressed with her drumming, but damn, she kicked major ass at this show. They played most of the songs off the new album, plus a selection of tunes from the previous three. In addition, they played "I Don't Care About You," an old classic by punk legends Fear. Great show. Opener John Vanderslice played a cool set that featured two things I had never seen before at a concert: the drummer played drums and keyboards simultaneously and for their last song, Vanderslice and the other members of the band went on the floor and played right in the crowd, unamplified. They all sang harmonies while Vanderslice played acoustic guitar, the bassist played violin, the keyboardist played an accordion, and the drummer played a tom tom drum.
More bulleted items:
- It's nice to see this Cincinnati station doesn't take its morning traffic reports too seriously. Wow.
- Forty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., here's something I never knew before: Assassin James Earl Ray hid out in Toronto for several weeks before he was caught in London.
- The New Kids on the Block have reunited. A true shocker. Well, at least I'll be able to trot out my old story about sitting next to Jordan Knight on a plane while he pounded beers. Yet another brush with not-so-greatness.
- This is true insanity: Former Democratic presidential candidate/cranky old geezer Mike Gravel with his own take on the Beatles' "Helter Skelter." It's way up there on the WTF scale. Certainly a different approach than the one Motley Crue took back in the '80s. Nothing tops the original, though.