SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The reunited heroes of indie-rock Pavement come to the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco for three nights this week, playing songs from across their entire career.
Co-founded by singer/guitarists Stephen Malkmus and Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, Pavement put the Central Valley town of Stockton on the map in the late 80s when the duo began recording music together under the moniker in 1989. A string of melodious, lo-fi noise pop EPs established the band as a unique new voice in the underground rock scene, earning the band critical praise and comparisons to post Mavericks. -like-minded punk band including Mark E. Smith’s band The Fall, REM and Sonic Youth.
When Pavement recorded his first album Tilted and enchanted, the band had grown to include drummer Gary Young (who helped record and produce the first EPs in his home studio), bassist Mark Ibold and percussionist Bob Nastanovich. Matador Records released the album in 1992 and was quickly hailed as a modern rock classic with its blend of fractured arrangements, indelible melodies and well-crafted Malkmus lyrics.
Pavement would go on to become one of the most beloved bands of the decade, churning out a string of celebrated efforts, including the equally beloved and more accessible 1994 follow-up. twisted rain, twisted rainnext year’s sprawling experience Wowee Zowie, and the concentrated indie-rock melody of Light up the corners.
The band disbanded after recording their swan song Twilight Terror in 1999, but Malkmus and Kannberg had already ventured into solo work and other projects before the official split in 2000. Kannberg unveiled his SF band Preston School of Industry, while Malkmus had previously played with the band in songwriter David Berman, the Silver Jews in the ’90s before launching his solo career. He formed his band, the Jicks, taking inspiration from the players found in his new home of Portland, OR.
Although Matador Records insisted that Malkmus release his self-titled debut solo album under his own name instead of the new band’s moniker, the 2001 effort received strong reviews who hailed the effort as a return to form for the band. ‘songwriter. Their second album Pig Lib adopted a looser, more band-oriented vibe that garnered even higher praise from critics.
Malkmus scaled back his activity after the birth of his two daughters in the late 2000s, but continued to critical acclaim with the group’s releases including Real emotional trash in 2008 (the first to feature Quasi and Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss) and Mirror traffic three years later. Pavement for a famous tour in 2010 to promote the greatest hits compilation Quarantining the Past: The Best of Pavement which included two concerts with guest appearances by the long-deceased Young. Malkmus and Kannberg also performed a number of Pavement songs with the Jicks in 2016 at two shows at the San Francisco Chapel to celebrate Spiral Stairs’ 50th anniversary (Young also joined those festivities on the second of two nights).
Malkmus and Kannberg have both maintained a steady output of new recordings since then, a new reunion of Pavement to mark the band’s 30th anniversary was announced in 2019 with their first scheduled appearances at the 2020 editions of the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona and Porto. . Those performances were postponed for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic before the band could finally make a triumphant return to the festival stage last June. The band’s label Matador Records also celebrates the group with a special 30th anniversary vinyl and cassette reissue of his landmark Tilted and enchanted album and a deluxe expanded reissue of Twilight Terror as well as a new version of the long out of print Spit on a stranger EP and first pressing of Westing’s Matador (By Musket And Sextant), Pavement’s compilation of early work from 1989-1993.
The band’s original lineup – minus drummer Young and plus keyboardist Rebecca Cole (ex-The Minders and Wild Flag) – brings the North American leg of its reunion tour to Masonic for three nights from Monday. The band will be joined by the prolific Bay Area songwriter Kelley Stoltz. A talented musician who has been setting the bar high for chamber studio producers for more than two decades, Stoltz and his band of local all-stars play songs from his latest effort, The Stylistas well as her acclaimed second album ancient glow who has the deluxe reissue treatment by Jack White’s Third Man Records imprint Last year.
Paved with Kelley Stoltz
Monday to Wednesday, September 12 to 14, 8 p.m. $45 to $125