Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, The Arches, Glasgow Fri 11 Nov 2011 (5 stars)

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, The Arches, Glasgow Fri 11 Nov 2011

Pavement’s short-lived reunion last year was damn-near miraculous, but you couldn’t help but feel that the pleasure was all ours. So, when the announcement came shortly after that Stephen Malkmus and his other brothers (and sister) in arms, The Jicks were recording again, it made sense.

The resulting album, the Beck-produced Mirror Traffic turned out to be a blinder and it's on the back of this that we find Malkmus and co. in high spirits at The Arches, playing almost the entire record, with scattered showers of ‘hits’ drizzled throughout.

Sauntering onstage looking every bit of 25 (despite now rocking his 40s), Malkmus makes a hilariously deadpan stab at The Sun’s newsgathering prowess regarding the 'coke-fuelled antics' of X-Factor shithead Frankie Cocozza before falling into a slick, laidback version of 'Gorgeous Georgie'. In an instant the whole band seem incredibly comfortable, like they’ve got all the time in the world, despite hammering out song after song in quick succession and with record-like precision.

With a voice oozing trademark cool, Malkmus slathers out solos like butter while the rest of The Jicks lend their equally capable hands to a set of bedraggled brilliance, coasting through new cuts like 'Tigers', 'Stick Figures In Love' and 'Senator' – which are easily among their best - to seasoned oldies like 'Jenny and The Ess-Dog'.

An encore ends in a hail of prog-like noise, even throwing in a cover of 'Hey Joe' for kicks. Despite clocking up nearly two hours, the show is never a chore, but above all else it’s just fun to watch them cut loose, all without dropping a beat. Watch and learn, kids.

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