Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – The Arches – 11/11/2011

I probably was more set for an over the top stadium rock gig when I moseyed into the Arches on for this gig, not because ‘cock-rock’ is my usual taste but because I’d just visited the excellent AC/DC exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery. The focal point was a full wall screen showing live footage of the band. I’m not anywhere close to being a huge AC/DC fan but they’ve got some pretty iconic songs so it was interesting reading about them and seeing some memorabilia. So, with Back in Black ringing in my ears, I nipped across the road to Brewdog Glasgow (i’m a punk now) for a quick pint before setting off to see Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks at the Arches.

It was the first time I’d seen him play with the Jicks and I was trying to forbid any thoughts that he might come out and do a Pavement classics encore. Alas, no such luck but

to be fair i did come to see Malkmus and The Jicks, not Pavement.

Sauntering on to the stage, Malkmus is the epitome of effortless cool. You kind of hope that you’re as laid back and cool as him when you’re in your 40’s. Well I do anyway. He sauntered on to stage clutching a copy of The Sun and proceeded to read us the story of reality star, Frankie Cocozza’s, drug and women binges, reading the headline “My Six Nights on Coke”, labelling it the Stephen Malkmus story.

The band started with ‘Gorgeous Georgie’ and then ‘Tigers’, both from Mirror Traffic. The set was fairly heavy on the new album and the songs, I thought, sounded really good live. There were big cheers for lead single ‘Senator’ and we were also treated to an outing of a new song which I am not sure the name of but after doing a bit of digging, it may be called ‘Flowers’.

The main set ended with ‘classics’, ‘Jenny & The Ess Dog, a personal favourite of mine, and ‘Us’. A friend had told me before the gig that he’d seen him play three times in the past, and Jenny had never been part of the setlist, I felt justifiably proud that I could text him back with a smug, “ha ha”.

The encore included a great jam of Jimi Hendrix classic ‘Hey Joe’ and finished with a rendition of Surreal


All in all, the Jicks sounded tight. The Mirror Traffic album is a lot more coherent and dare I say ‘poppy’ than previous Jicks albums and it came across well. There was the odd noodling musical interlude but the album works very well live. Add to that, Malkmus’ indie-grunge charm and the show was a bit of a winner.

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