Article and Photos by: Michael W. Bright
Louisville, KY—When Stephen Malkmus comes to town, lots of fans hope to see some version of ’90s indie rock icons, Pavement, his first band on the map. What a large portion of Zanzabar’s sold out crowd here in Louisville didn’t seem to realize was that Malkmus and his band, the Jicks, had been touring off and on since 2003 (as well as occasional Pavement outings) with five or so albums to their credit, so it’s a little difficult to determine where Malkmus the solo artist ends and The Jicks begin.
The Jicks do a good job of holding their own, so he’s moved ahead with that musical incarnation, releasing a new album this spring, Sparkle Hard. Opening act Lithics enjoyed the benefit of Malkmus’ company. He loosened up by jamming with them on four songs.
Malkmus seems to have brought the volume down a bit since Pavement, and the opening three songs in the next 15 set a tone for a decidedly relaxed evening. The band has been covering a couple of Pavement staples during the Sparkle Hard tour, lest the more mature fans be disappointed. The band tied up the evening nicely with “Stereo,” and “Shady Lane,” for the encore.
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks are selling out clubs and theaters, touring the US through August. For people, places, recordings, and trinkets go to stephenmalkmus.com.