Thursday, 16 August 2012

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Manchester Deaf Institute August 3rd 2012

What really went on there? I only have these excerpts. By the time Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks appeared on stage in front of the avian wallpaper there was no room to move as the floor was packed tight. Sun Ra Arkestra sold out their gig at the Deaf Institute too but I'm certain there were fewer people there. Judging by his comments between songs Stephen Malkmus holds the Deaf Institute in high regard, and it has many good points as a venue. It's a pleasant room to be in when there's a lower body count and the sound is always good even though none of it is coming from the wall of blown stereo peakers that line the wall behind the bar. The problem was really that the band are popular enough to play larger venues so some fans will be left out or scalped by touts. They've played two more spacious venues, the Ritz and Academy 2, since their previous visit to the Deaf Institute. It's also distracting when people have to squeeze or shove past to bar or toilet, especially the bigger people, or when overly enthusiatic drunks start shouting in you ear like they're at a football match and try to dance like a lobotomized Bez, but fortunatey such incidents passed by quickly in my area. The heat had taken its toll on Stephen Malkmus' plain blue hirt which was soon drenched in sweat as the quartet bounced perkily through a set comprised largely of new songs which will presumably be on their next album. Most memorable of these was a song ending in a humourously short hyperspeed hardcore dash and a dark moody keyboard led song in the encore. Bearded drummer Jake Morris also got to sing lead on one of the encore songs, and another future favourite had the word "constellation" in the lyrics. One lucky heckler shouted for '1% of One' from 'Pig Lib' and bassist Joanna Bolme shouted back, "You got it!" just before they did it epic justice. The only 'Mirror Traffic' songs I recall were 'Tigers', 'Senator' and 'True Grief', the last of which got a few excited girls tying to move about before they politely realised that they couldn't and had to be content with a new dance, the tinned sardine. Stephen Malkmus dedicated one song to "All the Manchester musicians like Rod Stewart..." Luckily his Jicks play enough of that fine fine music for him not to have to concern himself with a career in comedy. Initially I thought they hadn't played any Pavement songs, but Tom Long of Easter was at the gig and pointed out correctly that the first encore number was "Speak, See, Remember," the song that gives fourth album "Terror Twilight" its title. I hadn't listened to that album in a long time, and that song also fit in very well with the Jicks' new materilal, thus it passed me by!

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