On November 20, 1999 Pavement played their last gig, at the Brixton academy and after the concert, Malkmus confirmed at the aftershow, that Pavement was done “for the foreseeable future.” About two weeks later, a spokesperson for Domino records told NME: “Pavement are retiring for the forseeable future to: 1. Start families 2. Sail around the world 3. Get into the computer industry 4. Dance 5. Get some attention.” I had been offered a ticket but hadn’t quite mustered the enthusiasm to go and regretted it ever after.
So, on a musical redemption mission I went along and was suitably blown away by the 29 track set. Malkmus was the ultimate personification of slacker laid back front-man cool; low slung posturing and goose bump raising alternate-tuned solos, without the 47 minute white noise wait you have with Sonic Youth. The entire back catalogue was mined in random order with no sense of the usual gig experience of hoping whoever is on stage will get through the new album material and back to the classics. Big balloons appeared across the crowd for the encore of ‘Range Life’ which were massively entertaining and with the exception of two indie kids wobbling their shoulders frenetically like indie kids always did, it was utterly awesome. So much so that I ventured back the next night, with a cheap ticket off a tout, for a different set and more wonder.
Thankfully, you can never quarantine the past.