Last Night's Pavement Central Park Thundershow: Gen X is All Wet


Miles Klee: I think I have a little bit of a crush on Generation X. And seeing Pavement play a concert in an apocalyptic Central Park thunderstorm last night took it to a whole new level. It also didn’t hurt that Cece and I ran into you, Dave, an authentic Gen X-er (if my math is sound)-by the way, you do the meanest air guitar I’ve seen in ages. But the point is, I pretty much swooned when I heard the opening bars of “Spit On A Stranger.”

Dave Bry: Yes! Great to run into you Miles, and to meet you, Cece. I just wrote an embarrassingly florid recap for two Pavement-head college friends under the subject heading LIGHTNING BOLTS OF AWESOMENESS and included the sentence: “Basically, I had the feeling, while they were playing THE HEXX, that all my dreams were coming true.” So, yeah. Man, what a night.

Miles Klee: My favorite lightning bolt was probably the one that forked horizontally over the stage and lit up the sky right as they hit the chorus of “Stereo.” The crowd released this, like, GAWWWW sound, a sort of drooling at the sublime.

Dave Bry: Yes. That was the moment when it was like, Oh, this is very special night. The storm making it better, not worse. Listicle Without Commentary: Top Ten Lightning Bolts at Last Night’s Pavement Show.

Cece Lederer: “The Hexx” was just about the best live version of any song I have ever heard. I was also oddly heartened by the hippie-bros behind me who sang along to every song. Seriously, I always HATE when people sing along at concerts. It makes my skin crawl. I’m here to see them, not you. But the infectious enthusiasm of these guys smoking fat J’s and addressing each other with “yo” and “dude” made me feel a sublime camaraderie. Everyone there had spent countless hours listening alone, but now we were listening together. And even though we are, as a rule, “Haters,” we could all revel in the joy of music together. And there was something about the rain that gave it a Woodstock ’10 feeling. We’re going to stick it out and we don’t care about the rain because, let’s be serious, we don’t care about anything.

Dave Bry: The vocal anti-umbrella sentiment was enjoyable, too. The folks in back (the fratty-bro-hippies, maybe?) shouting for people to put down their umbrellas. I see their point. It is kind of obnoxious to put up your umbrella and block other peoples’ view at a rock show. Like, Give it up. We’re all getting soaked here. (And don’t block my view.) I never considered umbrellas as being anti-rock before. But I guess they really are. Rockers don’t mind getting a little wet. They’re singing in the rain.

Miles Klee: Did it seem like there were no hipsters there? Another point for Gen X: they are hipster-repellent. Though, Cece, I was pretty sure you were gonna punch that girl in the poncho who was fretting about her iPad getting wet.

Cece Lederer: And she was texting the whole time. Do you think she was the mystery texter at My Bloody Valentine too? It just breaks my heart when I think of all the 17-year-old girls blowing pot smoke through the fan in their bathroom window, listening to Wowee Zowee and NOT at the concert because this waste of hair straightener got the tickets that were rightfully hers! You’re right that there didn’t seem to be any hipsters. There must have been an Animal Collective show somewhere in Bushwick. I did, however, notice that 1 in 5 guys looked exactly like Malkmus. I also couldn’t believe how much fun Malkmus looked like he was having. I think he might like Pavement ALMOST as much as I do.

Dave Bry: And that has not always been the case at Pavement shows. The whole band did seem to get into the spirit of the rain-storm-faithful. They sounded genuine in their “thanks for sticking it out with us…” stuff. And of course, they rewarded us by playing their very best songs. I was worried I would not hear “Here,” because they hadn’t played it the night before. But then, on a night like last night, they had to play it. A wet and soaked and exhausted and beautiful song for a wet and soaked and exhausted and beautiful night.
Sounds gold
Cece Lederer: NOT ENOUGH EARLY TRACKS!!! Such as: “Debris Slide,” “Forklift,” “From Now On,” “Box Elder,” “She Believes,” “Angel Carver Blues/Mellow Jazz Docent,” “Home,” “Baptist Blacktick,” “My First Mine.” Also: “AT&T.”

Miles Klee: I found myself wondering where Malkmus got his really comfortable-looking plaid shirt. I feel myself slouching toward slackerdom. I think it all began with some cool older cousins of mine gave me a book of Matt Groening’s “Life In Hell” comics when I was way too young for it.

Cece Lederer: I may just be a part of Generation X. It’s defined more by transcendent ennui and technological proficiency than it is by year anyway.

Dave Bry: I’ve always been confused by the term. I suppose it’s a can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees thing, because I’m smack dab in the middle of it. (And I have to admit to the weird feeling that comes for me at a Pavement show: there is no band that makes me feel more dead-center demographic stereotype than they do.) But I’ve always thought that that was kind of what they’re talking about in “Fight This Generation.” Like, fight this idea of us being lumped together and summed up with this monochromatic catch-all label. But maybe that’s not what it’s about it at all. And I’m well aware that I probably live up to stereotype from the perspective of others as much as anyone else. But I’d still like to fight that idea.

Miles Klee: Oh for sure-“Gen X” is as lazy a label as “Millennial.” It’s awesome, though, that “Fight This Generation” can feel to me like a rallying cry against whatever intangible shittiness I do sense in my own age group. I dunno! Pavement lyrics are cryptic enough to be multivalent; they can still be applied all over the place. Which I suppose is what gives these songs a timelessness whereby rock critics today can finally start to say: “It wasn’t by any stretch the most popular sound back then, but it’s turned out to be among the most enduring.”

Dave Bry: They’ll be like the Velvet Underground, maybe?

Cece Lederer: At least we’re not “The Greatest Generation.” That’s some shit to live up to.



Cece Lederer will be buying scalped tickets to Friday’s show. Miles Klee is thinking about it. Dave Bry is still toweling off.