Pavement, Bad//Dreems @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 24/2/2023

Adelaide continued to swelter with another really hot day so the prospect of going to the iconic Thebarton Theatre was always going to be a tough one for music fans. The incentive though was one of the most influential bands to come out of the American underground in the last three decades and that being Pavement who were well supported by Adelaide legends Bad//Dreems. This tour took on extra meaning having recently celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of seminal 1992 album Slanted and Enchanted. So to say it has been a long time between drinks, indeed it has been with the last show in Adelaide by Pavement was back in 2010. Was great to see plenty of fans sporting old Pavement t-shirts walking in to the venue.

It was an enthusiastic crowd that had assembled early to see Bad/Dreems open. It was been a while since I have seen them play but they are elite in terms of how they go about it and we should be incredibly proud of the band that they have become. They played a cracking set and front man Ben Marwe is quite the performer. They are definitely the sort of band that if you’re coming on after you really need to step up your game. When Marwe walked out he made the comment about “back to the old days” referring to seated shows which really did seem unnecessary to be honest. Plenty of firepower in their set with the likes of Gutful, Mansfield 6.0, Hoping For, Jack and Cuffed & Collared.

Pavement are quite the unassuming band on the surface but when you peel back the layers there’s an abundance of riches when delving in to their back catalogue. Pavement like many bands have had their ups, downs and in betweens with a reunion tour in 2010 and then reconvening in 2022 tour again and continue their thirtieth anniversary celebrations. The band’s tensions and resentments are well documented so fortunately for Australian fans we had the opportunity to hear and celebrate this much revered band again. Yes, it would be easy to question the motives of such tours and the fact there hasn’t been any new music since 1999 but heck this band still have it and can play.

There were plenty of fan favourites scattered through out their set opening with Grave Architecture followed by the first of many crowd favourites Stereo which really lifted the mood in the Thebbie. Front man Stephen Malkmus doesn’t have to say much or anything for that matter maintaining this indie-rock swagger letting the music do the talking. For the most part the band worked through their back catalogue with ease leaving fans in awe. Perfume-V, Kennel District and Heckler Spray are solid indie gems but it was the singles that got the crowd excitable. Spit On A Stranger was awesome as was Gold Soundz and Summer Babe.

The band acknowledged how hot it was saying ‘it’s hot, we’re a hot band!” It was stifling but that didn’t seem to bother most. The tail end of the set was gold with Harness Your Hopes and Type Slowly which was followed Unfair and Range Life which were definitely some of the memorable moments from the show. The encore provided plenty of great moments as well with Blue Hawaiian, We Dance and Starlings Of The Slipstream. The sing-a-long in Cut Your Hair was awesome leaving Adelaide on Fin making fans wonder if there would be a next time for beloved Pavement.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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