Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks Fitzgerald's March 7, 2014
"Can you remember the thrill and the rush/ You're not out of touch/ Come tonight, you'll see/ No one here has changed, and no one ever will."
These lyrics from Jicks' song "Rumble at the Rainbo" might best describe the vibe at Fitzgerald's Friday night, as Stephen Malkmus and his band played to a crowd who indeed remember both the thrill and the rush of Malkmus' musical magic -- and have been awaiting the Jicks' return to Houston for more than a decade. In our recent interview, Malkmus spoke of the Jicks' "fun" vibe, which was instantly apparent Friday. Drummer Jake Morris was perhaps the fun frontrunner, as he took the stage shirtless, his beer-full belly on proud display.
Malkmus strolled onstage to a rowdy applause, sporting Mardi Grad beads around his neck, and white Lacoste sneakers rooting his lanky limbs. He lived up to his "slacker-rock" status straightaway: "It's Saturday night," he exclaimed. "And we're glad to be here!"
(It was Friday.)
The Jicks are touring in support of their latest album, Wig Out at Jagbags; they opened, however, "Tune Grief" from 2011's Mirror Traffic. Instantly, Malkmus was a goofy dancing ham, striking grandiose rock poses that were, considering their source, likely ironic caricatures.
Bassist Joanna Bolme approached the mike, asking to "address the elephant in the room."
"But we've already played 'Houston Hades'!" Clark joked.
But Bolme was referring to a
horse elephant of a different color. "We have a drummer without a shirt," she announced, as Morris nodded proudly.
The Jicks' set featured Wig Out songs most prominently, but also revisited older tunes, including "Phantasies," "Out of Reaches" and Mirror Traffic standout "Stick Figures In Love," which seemed to trigger a second wave of energy for both the band and audience.
Anthemic Face the Truth track "Baby C'mon" closed the first set, and after a brief break, the band returned to the stage for an encore. Malkmus was now wearing his Mardi Gras beads like a crown.
Review continues on the next page.
Clark and Malkmus tackled an off-the-cuff keyboard-only version of "Jenny and the Ess-Dog," which was the highlight of the night -- that is, until the band surprised the crowd with throwback Pavement song "Summer Babe (Winter Version)."
The cover was a moment knowing Malkmus fans knew was coming, but that didn't lessen the awesomeness of hearing a vintage Pavement song live. Fans lit up at hearing its first notes, and most sang along with every word.
Closer "Us" developed into a spacey jam, as Malkmus woozily wailed away on his guitar before exiting the stage a final time. "Thanks," he said, victoriously raising his fist in the air -- a fitting move to match the evening's triumphant takeaway.
Personal Bias: I've seen The Jicks (and Pavement) several times, and while it wasn't the best Jicks show I've ever seen, it was still excellent (and Fitz was the perfect venue to host). Hearing "Vanessa From Queens" would have been nice, though.
The Crowd: Relatively tame until midway through the set. Lots of guys. Typical cool Jicks crowd.
Overheard In the Crowd: Sadly, no "Polynice!!"
Random Notebook Dump: The stiff dude recording the entire show front-and-center was a downer in the moment, but thanks to him, fans can (re)experience the whole set on YouTube.
Tune Grief Cinnamon and Lesbians Scattegories Houston Hades Out Of Reaches Brain Gallop Lariat Shibboleth J Smoov Phantasies Asking Price Stick Figures In Love The Janitor Revealed Tigers Baby C'mon
Jenny and the Ess-Dog Summer Babe (Winter Version) (Pavement cover) Us
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