Pavement, Scala, London, May 1999
I never met a Pavement fan I didn’t like. It’s true. Their glorious slacker, sloppy pop dominated the first half of 90s, and their label/touring connections to Flying Nun acts in the States, and their legendary gigs here in New Zealand endeared them to a lot of people I knew. Sadly, I did not get to see them in Wellington (1993?), but I was not going to miss out once I was in London… even if there was a sense they were less shambolic on stage these days - gone were the days of Bobby N making toast for audience members, or old drummer Gary stopping mid-song to do handstands. The gig was in Kings Cross (basically a crack den with good transport links) in the newly refurbished Scala theatre, a mid-size venue that was a pretty intimate ‘room’, and the band were touring their new (and ultimately last) album Terror Twighlight. The meat of the show was pretty much that album in it’s entirety, but sandwiched between two of Pavement’s finest artisanal slices: opener ‘Frontwards’ from the wickedly good Watery Domestic EP, and a mighty rendition of ‘Trigger Cut’ from seminal album (look out NME!) Slanted n Enchanted as the finale. Sublime. The filler was pretty killer though. Despite the band being more mature, and slightly less frenetic on stage by 1999, the countryish stylings of Terror Twighlight were edgier live, and really the ‘sound’ was a realistic progresion from Brighten The Corners. No true Pavement fan should bemoan their development; only their ultimate demise. How can you question any band that has lyrics like “Watch out for the gypsy children in electric dresses they’re insane. I hear they live in crematoriums and smoke your remains” from ‘You Are The Light’? I now steer clear of gypsy children AND crematoriums, so thanks, Pavement for the Public Health Warning. Pick just one track from the gig? Okay, it might as well be ‘The Hexx’ from Terror Twighlight - "Architecture students are like virgins with an itch they can’t scratch”. Pavement ist rad!