Pavement, Pavement, Pavement. It has been a while. My first ever trip to Bowery Ballroom was with members of 2HK to see Pavement during their Brighten the Corners tour. In the years since it’s been surprising how easily they’ve fallen out of public consciousness, but given the hype around their reunion tour, the buzz is back.
First, Williamsburg Waterfront is a stellar concert venue. There’s a grassy knoll near the East River for hanging out between bands. Drinks are pretty cheap ($6 for a very full glass of wine or decent local beer) and bathrooms are available and not gross. The stage used to have the East River and the Manhattan skyline as its backdrop, but now faces the river to spare local residents the sound barrage. By the way, did you know the East River is not a real river? Being VIPs, we didn’t have to battle with the masses for a good viewing spot.
The show itself was a total blast. Some review said they got off to a slow start and sloppy start, but we were pretty sloppy ourselves, so I guess it seemed normal. It turns out that when you roll with the right crew, it doesn’t matter who brings the whiskey. Bob Nastanovich, who is more roaming mad-man than regular musician, brought it hard for this show. Malkmus was smooth as ever. At one point I turned to a stranger and remarked, “He’s got that Lou Reed in him, doesn’t he?” The stranger just shrugged his shoulders. Oh well, maybe he doesn’t.
By the end of the show we had developed a rapport with our neighbor, who was completely enraptured by the music. I think Pavement is his favorite band. He wondered aloud what they’d do for an encore, and I confidently ventured that “Trigger Cut.” He didn’t think so, but was ecstatic when they started rocking it seconds later, gripping me in a bear hug.
I like to peek at set lists from previous shows on a tour, mostly to avoid the disappointment of rooting for a particular song all show only to go home empty-handed, but it can be a nice party trick too. At Bonnaroo 2009 a group of diehard Springsteen fans scoffed at my suggestion that he’d close with “Rosalita”. “He never plays that!” they argued forcefully, unaware that he had, in fact, closed with it at his previous show. ‘Knowledge is power’ said the internet. It said a lot of other things too.
Anyway, Pavement is now playing four more shows in Central Park. If you want to get a ticket, it really shouldn’t be too hard. Go for it, and keep living the dream.