Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, gig review: 'sloppy and unfulfilling'

2.00

Forum, London

They don't play 2011's “Senator”. Really? Why? What's the reasoning? It's one of their punchiest songs, and it possesses the deliciously scabrous lyric “I know what the senator wants/ What the senator wants is a blow job“. But then, in the main, this experience is 75-minutes' worth of mild disappointment. I would have shaved half an eyebrow off to hear Pavement's ”Shady Lane“ or ”Cut Your Hair“. However, the languid Stephen Malkmus doesn't indulge us with material from his former, far better lo-fi, slacker band.

The gangly, cerebral frontman is, by all accounts, in a perkier place than his Pavement days (he infamously disbanded the seminal outfit at an after-show party in Brixton) and looks content orchestrating his Jicks, which consist of Joanna Bolme on bass, Jake Morris on drums and Mike Clarke on keyboards. They've been playing together since 2000 - far longer than Pavement lasted - and now have six albums under their belt (Pavement had five), but they still sound like an eternal American college band. A vital ingredient is missing. Pavement, on the other hand, were more than the sum of their parts and it was thrilling to witness them reunite in 2010.

Malkmus, who bears a passing resemblance to John Squire with his floppy fringe, is still a nimble and acerbic lyricist. ”Come ye all down to the punk rock tomb/ Come slam dancing with some ancient dudes,“ the 47-year-old archly maintains on ”Rumble at the Rainbo. “I can see/ The mystery/ Of you and me/ Will never quite add up/ No one is/ Your perfect fit,” he laments on the arsenic-laced “Forever 28”, from 2011's polished Mirror Traffic (produced by Beck).

The Californian's lyrics remain consistently inventive and droll but they also stray into wilful absurdity: “I got no more lotion/ Chew the oddity”, he maintains on “Planetary Motion” from his new record, Wig Out at Jagbags. Malkmus's voice has never been a thing of beauty but it feels particularly drowned out tonight among the unhelpful noodling and unfortunate nods toward prog-rock. Thankfully, his guitar playing is extremely accomplished, particularly on the plodding new number “J Smoov” and the witty “Cinnamon and Lesbians” (“Come downtown 'cause we got a cure for your head lice/ We will it for free/ Love it or leave”).

But whereas Pavement felt sloppily brilliant, this just feels sloppy, unfulfilling, perfunctory. The sound of their compelling new album doesn't seem to translate or compel tonight and the band's mutterings between songs is largely inaudible. It's the last night of their UK tour, so perhaps they're fatigued.

The two high points are the enchanting opener “Lariat”, from the new record, and the anthemic, effervescent “Jo Jo's Jacket” from Malkmus's debut solo album. But, ultimately, Malkmus and the Jick's performance feels somewhat pedestrian, it stagnates. It doesn't ebb, it doesn't flow. It never ignites. And then it's over far too soon. It's probably time to unite Pavement again.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian, actor and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor