Pavement @ Barrowlands, 5 May

Article by Paul Neeson | 11 May 2010

“It’s good to be back, underneath all these lights,” squints a visibly uncomfortable Scott Kannberg. Undoubtedly, the trend for 90s alt-rock revivals over recent years has proven to be both a blessing and a curse, with each successful, revitalised return (cue the ever brilliantly brooding Alice in Chains) being offset by an awkward rehash of past glories (see the tragic return of the once revered Sebadoh).

So it’s with some trepidation that the re-emergence of these low fidelity legends is observed, and with great relief that we witness a blustering opening rendition of In the Mouth a Desert, making it immediately apparent that – whilst a little older around the jowls – Stephen Malkmus and Co. have lost little of their youthful zeal. They take an immediate breather with the sun-down country of Father of a Sister of Thought, however burst back out with the lo-fi anthemia of Frontwards, Rattled by the Rush and the Spiral Stairs penned pop-pariah, Kennel District.

By this point the quintet have whipped the front of the Barrowlands into a healthy, sweating stramash, leaving little doubt that their sole intention this evening is to play the role of crowd-pleasers, making their way through a mash up of recent career retrospective Quarantine the Past and in doing so reminding us why – even after a ten year sabbatical – Pavement are still as essential as ever. Should tonight prove to be their last goodbye, then we’re unquestionably left with a memory worthy of their legacy. [Paul Neeson]