Review: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Albert Hall

Freshly landed from Portland was the indie rock band Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, as they kicked off their European tour at the Albert Hall last week.

The first half of the show saw the band play a lot of their new songs, punctuated by a few displays of Malkmus’ peculiar (although charming) aloofness, which amused the crowd as much as his band.

The album’s more modern production, combined with Malkmus’ fuzzy indie sound trademark – especially on “Bike Lane” and “Shiggy” – really came alive in the echo chamber that is the Albert Hall, providing the songs with a graceful amplitude.

The new single “Middle America” was a particular highlight of tonight’s gig, the new upbeat track is the first new music to emerge from the group since 2014!

Some favourites from previous albums, like “Stick figures in love” or “Lariat” or from first solo albums (“Jenny & the Ess-dog” and “Freeze the Saints”) were particularly welcomed especially in the absence of some of his other hits that were somehow missed out of the setlist.

One can’t not mention Pavement as the sound of his iconic 90s pop former band still resonates through a lot of Malkmus’ songs. The band finished with two songs from “Brighten the corners” as they often do (“No Tan Lines” and “And Then (The Hexx)”), and a cover of Neil Young’s “Barstool Blues”, much to the delight of fans of the first hour.

SETLIST
Cast Off
Bike Lane
Cinnamon and Lesbians
Solid Silk
Middle America
Stick Figures in Love
Shiggy
Rattler
Witch Mountain Bridge
Refute
Jenny & The Ess-Dog
Lariat
Freeze The Saints
Kite

ENCORE:
No Tan Lines (Pavement Cover)
And Then (The Hexx, Pavement Cover)
Barstool Blues (Neil Young Cover)

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