Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: Koko

In Pavement, Stephen Malkmus wrote some of my favourite songs ever.

Slanted and Enchanted is still regularly brought out of the record (yes, record) box and along with Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica and John Coltrane’s Dakar, should be compulsory issue to every student on their first day of college.

stephen malkmus koko

Tonight is the last date of a brief UK tour and Koko is full of diehard fans. They might be more inclined to be talking about Brenda from accounts these days than the latest record by the Xcerts, but there is life in the old dogs yet. Someone was even smoking a joint.

Kicking off with Tigers from the latest excellent Beck produced record Mirror Traffic, new songs Spazz and Senator sound bigger and bolder than the record and The Jicks (Jake Morris on Drums, complete with Movember tache, Mike Clark on keyboards and Joanna Bolme on Bass) are much more than just hired hands.

On occasions the band get lost in the music, and the results are stunning, but it’s never out of control. Adding a more sophisticated, disciplined backdrop to Malkmus’s tilted pop songs, as apposed to the raw brilliant shambles Pavement could be live.

Malkmus is in a good mood and makes time for a one second silence in tribute to ex Libertine, Carl Barat (not dead, just everywhere). Despite promising to play till the curfew the set seems to fly by. Personal highlights are, Us from Pig Lib, and Jenny And The Ess-Dog from his debut solo album, how can you not love a song with the lyrics…

Jennifer dates a man in a 60s cover band
He’s the Ess-dog, or Sean if you wish
She’s 18, he’s 31
She’s a rich girl, he’s the son
Of a Coca-Cola middle man

What I like about Stephen Malkmus songs / lyric’s is, like all good art they are open to personal interpretation. You have an idea of what he is singing about, but it is probably totally wrong. Sometimes they sound like the sort of thing you say when you wake up without thinking. Stories from dreams.

Among the encores he includes a cover of Sweets ‘Love is like Oxygen’ and ‘Wild Thing’ by The Troggs. The throngs go home happy, but would it have hurt to play ‘Range Life’ just for old times sake?

Now, who wants to start a British Pavement covers band called Sidewalk?

Thumbnail pic by Al de Perez
Main pic by Ace Jace