As one of the most beloved indie rock bands to come out of the nineties, Pavement has made the rounds this year with over forty shows this year beginning with their return to the stage on March 4th in Sydney, Australia. Their highly anticipated reunion tour after 11 years of inactivity created quite the buzz, headlining performances at this year’s Coachella, Sasquatch and Pitchfork music festivals and playing two thirds of their tour dates overseas.
Pavement supplemented the announcement of a reunion with the release of Quarantine the Past earlier this year. A compilation of the best-known hits from their catalog as well as many B-sides and rarities, the album’s tracks non-chronologically wind through the span of Pavement’s 10-year career. The hits mostly transpired from 1991’s debut Slanted & Enchanted and their most commercially successful releases, beginning with 1994’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.
The band originally formed to play for a friend’s party, rehearsing to play pop and punk covers in a church. That summer, the young band wrote some folk-oriented original songs for their repertoire and began to tour the West Coast. While the band never received widespread notoriety, a cult following ensued their early work, which helped the post-punk era bloom into full-grown alterative rock. In 1994, Pavement received a couple radio hits without changing their initial sound.
During the last six-month tour of their career (pre-reunion), Pavement began to crack under pressure. Front man Stephen Malkus was especially affected, at times not wanting to talk to anyone in the band outside of stage time. The breakdown hit its climax at 1999’s Coachella Festival, when Malkus took the stage and refused to sing, the band having to resort to an instrumental set. The bitter dissolve of the band was most disheartening because Malkus never verbalized to the other members that he had no intentions of regrouping.
Even ten years after their dissolution, the original raw, garage sound and sentimental relevancy of their lyrics is just as prominent as it had been in the nineties. Their headlining comeback at this year’s Coachella is evidence that the band was welcomed back with open arms. Pavement will be accompanied at the Agganis Arena by Jenny and Johnny, a new side project of Rilo Kiley front woman Jenny Lewis with her singer-songwriter boyfriend Jonathan Rice. The two found themselves wanting to write more optimistic tunes and in doing so came up with I’m Having Fun Now (2010). Cult heroes Pavement and Jenny Lewis will be at the Agganis Arena at Boston University on Saturday, September 18th. So far, they haven’t announced any future tours, so this visit to Boston could very well be Pavement’s last.