Thursday, February 26, 2009

Noise Pop 2009: Stephen Malkmus Played Great American - Review, Pictures, Setlist

Tonight's set by Stephen Malkmus at the Great American could not have been more divergent from last night's Deerhunter set: one man, singing classic melodies to a devout crowd, armed only with a guitar. And yet, Malkmus managed to deliver far more than a simple one man show of the singer-songwriter variety. Despite a broken string and some stumbling lyrics, he brought forth a vast selection of his catalogue and offered up everything from old favorites, to covers, to his latest solo work, to the most far flung of Pavement b-sides.

First and foremost, more on that setlist: it was riddled with Pavement classics and b-sides, and even touched on a Silver Jews number. What's more, it didn't seem that encouragement to delve into the past was even needed: Malkmus opened the set with "Harness Your Hopes" and it was clear from there that the set would be comfortably retro in its bent. The set ran the gamut from Slanted And Enchanted through Real Emotional Trash, and from the sound of things, the audience kept right up with him. Even a cover of the O'Jays "Love Train" simply couldn't be stopped.

And really, there was no need to stop anything at all, because the room was clearly full of love. The Malkmus devotees are a hardcore bunch, from the numerous song requests it was clear that they had come to see Malkmus in something of a journey to Mecca. His catalogue is beloved, and yet so often beleaguered by breakup/reunion drama that this night provided a unique opportunity. Specifically: to see the man, and hear the songs, and simply transcend anything that stretched beyond the pure enjoyment of the composition.

It was clear from Malkmus' attitude that he could feel the positivity as well. For much of the set he was grinning and clearly enjoying himself. Moreover, he was a ridiculously good sport for all the song request cat calls, and even had a solid go at one ("Vanessa From Queens") that suited his fancy. He was obviously there to deliver songs to his fans, and more than succeeded in doing exactly that. From the first notes of "Harness Your Hopes", to the final distorted chords of "Summer Babe", the fans were rapt. As Malkmus took his final bow and headed off stage it was clear that tonight was everything and more that this crowd was looking for.

More photos at the HAD Archive


Harness Your Hopes


Blue Arrangements (Silver Jews)

Starlings Of The Slipstream

Pink India

Spit On A Stranger


Range Life
Real Emotional Trash
Loretta's Scars
We Have Laid Here (Bill Fay Cover)

Lions (Linden)

Freeze The Saints

Shoot The Singer

Zurich Is Stained

Heaven Is A Truck

Vanessa From Queens (Partial)



Love Train (O'Jays Cover)
Emotional Rescue (Rolling Stones Cover, Partial)
Summer Babe


Hanan said...

hahaha dude you are SO efficient. Joel and I decided to browse the internets.

the Accidental Genius said...

SM played a great set.. he's doing some pavement stuff now! finally!!

David D said...

Great job with the setlist. Even me the hard core Pavement fan didn't catch that the intro was Harness Yr Hopes. Starlings made me weep with joy. Fin was perfect. Summer Babe made me smile all the way home.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review and pictures (and setlist). What a fine show.

Another funny moment:

At one point in the show he broke a string, tried to fix it but put the wrong string on, then was handed a new guitar. Then he said something to the effect of, "Oh boy. But what if this guitar is, like, way better than me?"

Benjo said...

Great review, and thanks for the pics/setlist. One thing you forgot to mention is that although he played only 50% of Emotional Rescue, he delivered 100% of its epicness.

hippiesaredead said...

Emotional Rescue: 50% played, 100% epicness. Well said.

james said...

'we have laid here' is by Bill Fay

Jonathan Koshi said...

Great photos!

jojo said...

OH MAN I most definitely would have had a stroke or something during harness your hopes and then I probably would not have been able to enjoy SHOOT THE SINGER or fucking LORETTA'S SCARS (!!!)
damn, that is one of the most amazing setlists I have ever seen.

PS: stephen, if you grow back the malkstache I don't know what I'll do with myself.

Brian said...

Thanks for the set list and pics. I had a recording of this going until the encore when the battery on my digital recorder shut the thing done and ERASED it all. God's work I suppose. Hopefully someone will have come away with one and upload it to

"You won't forget our color" is actually "Feed 'Em To The (Linden) Lions" from the Watery Domestic EP.

Anonymous said...

great pics and review. thanks for the setlist too. def my favorite show i saw at sxsw

kk said...

so remember when you said this was gonna get put up on wolfgang's vault? where is it? thanks.

hippiesaredead said...

Hrm. Looks like all of Noise Pop didn't make it up. Sadness. :(

Anonymous said...

It may be a little late, but video of the whole show can be seen in the current issue 8 of the paste mplayer: