Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks + Tyvek 2/12/14, Denver

Dates: February 12, 2014

Location: Gothic Theatre, Denver CO



Well, this was a double bill that I was very excited for. Had not ever seen Tyvek before and it had probably been a good 4 or 5 years since my last SM and Jicks gigs. All that and the show at the Gothic Theatre was over by 10:45 pm. Sign me up!

Tyvek , from Detroit, came out as a three-piece including a bassist who looked a bit like Jay Reatard (RIP) and a female drummer with a Wipers t-shirt on (bonus!). Singer/guitarist/main dude Kevin Boyer wore a low-baseball cap and made small talk with the audience before falling on the floor and rolling around on stage during one song. Their sound wasn’t quite ‘80s hardcore but pretty darn close; I was reminded of LA’s the Middle Class during a few songs. They played a generous dose of cuts from all of their records—their latest release was 2012 so it’s been a while—and I have to say, I dug ‘em heartily.

Malkmus and Co. came out at the witching hour (OK, so it was 9 PM) and announced that it was the first night of the tour. They also proceeded to make some Denver-related jokes about staying in the Cherry Creek area for the night (what, not 5-Points?).

They kicked into some from their latest Matador Records release, Wig Out at Jagbags (ode to Dag Nasty?) playing “J Smoov,” “Independence Street,” “Surreal Teenagers” and “Chartjunk” and all played with the energy and enthusiasm and yes, off-the-cuffness that one expects from the former Pavement leader. Speaking of The Pave, they pleasantly surprised the crowd by playing “Father to a Sister of a Thought” (from Wowee Zowee) and during the encore they played “Box Elder” (from  their first 7”, Slay Tracks…..this got me worked into a frenzy, I freely admit it) as well as working a Steve Miller Band song “Swingtown,”  into the mix.

As always the band was having a real loose feel onstage, and even if things were pre-planned, they sure didn’t seem like it. The rest of the band, bassist Joanna Balme, keyboardist/guitarist Mike Clark and especially new drummer Jake Morris all sound totally on-point and Malkmus himself worked it too, tossing off his classic guitar leads without being too wanky and giving real life to all of the songs. We don’t want this guy to ever change and from his look, at least physically, it looks like he never does as he still resembles the early-twenty-something that started messing with his guitar all those years ago. Amen to that.

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