It was as Stephen Malkmus said a weird day in Amsterdam. Piles of trash all over the city due to a strike by garbagemen and also the start of the Tour of Italy. 200 well trained guys on bikes who cycled through Amsterdam on a cold and cloudy day. This city can do that to you at times, show you how what messiness looks like while at the same time having some guys on bikes racing as no one else on this globe can. Maybe it was fitting that Pavement’s reunion tour brought them to the Paradiso on this day.
Pavement’s status as one of indie rock’s greatest band of the 90’s is without a doubt. Their first two albums “Slanted & Enchanted” and “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain” are classics and their follow-up albums are all if high-quality. After ten years they reformed and are now touring again. As their opener they had invited their onetime label mates Bettie Serveert who were Holland’s premier indie band in the 90s. Bettie Serveert never disbanded and have made beautiful records up to this day. Playing a selection of songs from their entire career they were good, though the high volume at times muddled their sound. But it was good to see them at work again.
Pavement’s setlist was also a greatest hits show. In a long set they played songs from all their albums so there were songs for every type of fan: The early ones from S&E and CRCR, their later “Brighten the Corners” fans and also quite a few young fans who were only around 8 years old by the time they disbanded. Pavement still didn’t seem to really be trying to be excellent but in good Pavement tradition it worked well. The band at times was sloppy and messy making you want to hear what they could really sound like. But face it, that is Pavement. If it was perfect it would not have been Pavement. The genius of the band shone through at moments, mostly later in the set. A great version of ‘Range Life’, a perfect rendition of their non-album single ‘Give it a Day’ and closer ‘Here’. ‘Here’ is a perfect pop song but almost improvisational in it’s live version.
Pavement was like the city was today. Messy but at times showing why in their field they are the best in the world.