Live review: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Purling Hiss | Music
INDY Week's music blog

Archives | RSS

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Live review: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Purling Hiss

Posted by on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 2:09 PM

click to enlarge Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - PHOTO BY LEAH NASH
  • photo by Leah Nash
  • Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro
Monday, March 3

At the end of the first song of Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks’ show at Cat’s Cradle on Monday night, a technician came onstage to aid the former Pavement frontman while the other Jicks began strumming an impromptu version of Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man.” It turned out that the wiring of Malkmus’ guitar was shocking him, traveling through his limbs and torso to leave his lips tingling with the current. But it was Philadelphia’s Purling Hiss that truly seemed electrified.

When Purling Hiss took the stage, the venue was a gawping hole occupied only by 50 or so people. Later, the crowd filled out for Malkmus, despite the icy weather. Based solely on raucousness, it would be easy to call Purling Hiss the night’s standout act, though that’s not entirely fair. Their set, culled mostly from 2013’s excellent Water on Mars, was furious and unrelenting. Like occasional label-mate Ty Segall, they spit well-placed yelps like epithets, with a furious pace that inspired equally furious foot-tapping. Malkmus’ modern mid-tempo style barely attempts this fury, let alone the meteorological impact of a Purling Hiss song like “Lolita.” 

Like whiskey and a chaser, Purling Hiss’ riffs singed, while Malkmus’ affable songs were the balm, easier to swallow. Enjoying them didn’t require a rebellious streak, a leather jacket or a fantasy about riding a Harley. They’re just good songs that evoke the ’90s in a particular way. They brought the cool dads out in force, in their thick-framed glasses and well-trimmed beards. But there were also a gaggle of twenty-somethings singing along to “Lariat.” 

Malkmus’ core fans came of age when I was still far too young to collect any Pavement singles, and aside from a few months in college spent ruminating over Quarantine the Past, Pavement’s greatest hits album, I was never a devotee. I went into this show fresh-faced and freezing, only hoping that I would be able to drive home and that the band would play “Senator” (you know, the song they can’t play on the radio). As genteel as Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks might be, they tap into the same elemental source that makes modern college kids go buy Pavement’s Slanted & Enchanted. They aren’t anthemic, punchy or riotous—they’re likeable and witty. Live, they simply light up at a lower voltage than Purling Hiss.

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music

Twitter Activity


I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Revive is my people. If folks were offended by this, I can assure you it wasn't intentional. Revive Music was …

by Matthew Allen on Art of Cool Festival, Night One: Revive Big Band's Music-History Concert Leaves Out Women to an Absurd Degree (Music)

Small crowds like the one in Utrecht The Netherlands where I was with my 7 year young daughter may be …

by George Hendriks on The blues of Randall Bramblett's career-long cult status—and the promise of his new Devil Music (Music)

Wow! I am speechless. Skylar that was amazing! You are very talented. I love your vocal range and passion. Thank …

by Rita Romaine Rakestraw on Video Premiere: Phil Cook and Skylar Gudasz Nod to Alice Gerrard in New Tribute Clips (Music)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation