The long-term trend for bands reliving past glories on very lucrative reunion tours is, in many ways, depressing – that we haven’t produced many bands with staying power over the past ten years does make you wonder if music really is getting worse. But it does give people such as myself the chance to watch bands they love that they missed the first time around, and I have taken full advantage of it.

I’ve seen the Pixies in Manchester, and My Bloody Valentine in Hammersmith. I’ve seen Mission of Burma, Dinosaur Jr, Slint and Blur. Some of those bands I narrowly missed out on the first time round, while others I thought I’d never see. But I did, and to a tee, each of those gigs was fantastic.

Of all of the big revivals, however, one of them meant more to me than any of the others – Pavement. I find it difficult to name a single favourite band, but Pavement is definitely way up there. They are one of the bands I just missed out on, mainly due to my own lack of initiative. But I had always loved them, ever since I’d bought 'Wowee Zowee' on a whim.

When Pavement reformed, there was no way I was going to miss them. Knowing Stephen Malkmus’ complete lack of interest in revisiting his Pavement days, I knew it wouldn’t last long. The band had reformed in order to help percussionist Bob Nastanovich pay off his gambling debts, not because the band members desperately wanted to play together again. It was a ‘now or never’ situation.

Pavement were booked to curate the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Minehead, which my friends and I decided was the perfect place to see them. It gave us a chance to make a true weekend of this once-in-a-lifetime event, and hopefully watch a bunch of other great bands as well.

Needless to say, it was the right decision. It remains the best festival I’ve ever been to – when it ended, we all felt a deep regret that the event was now only a memory. That sounds over the top, but it was that good.

Pavement played on the Saturday, a day packed with great bands, but we deliberately decided to limit ourselves to the main stage in preparation for the main event. For the first time since I was about fifteen, I had decided to hang around the main stage in order to be at the front for the headliner. I felt like a foolish fan boy, but I have to say, it was worth it.

When Pavement took to the stage, we were against the barriers at the front – the best view in the house. The band opened with a deep cut, 'Box Elder', from their first EP 'Slay Tracks'. My expectations were exceedingly high for the show, and thankfully they were met, although given my level of adoration for the band, I think it would be exceedingly difficult for them to let me down. They followed 'Box Elder' with 'Grounded', one of my favourite tracks from 'Wowee Zowee', and it was all uphill from there.

Five years later, my memory of the show itself is hazy – it went by in an ecstatic blur – but I do remember little snippets. Band members slow dancing during 'We Dance'. Stephen Malkmus almost smashing himself in the head with his guitar (having just casually tossed it into the air). 'Gold Soundz' and 'Range Life', one after the other. A very large group of people singing loudly to 'Debris Slide' as if it was a huge hit single, and not another EP deep cut. It was fantastic. If it doesn’t always remain my favourite gig of all time, it will always be up there.












Related Links:

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Commenting On: All Tomorrow’s Parties, Minehead, June 2010 - Pavement








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