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Words of Wisdom from Stephen Malkmus

Armed with rookie drummer Jake Morris, Stephen Malkmus and his Jicks returned to the Belly Up in support of their new album Mirror Trash. The band garnered a solid turnout for a Thursday night, even though the crowd did seem a little sleepy by the time the band took the stage around 10:30. The Jicks seemed a bit tired as well. I guess that's what happens when your bandleader seems to be eternally trapped in a state of having just woken up.

With ex-Sleater Kinney drummer Janet Weiss now out of the mix, the group seems to have lost a bit of it's live spark. Weiss's powerful drumming drove the band hard when they played out, and the group was surprisingly tight and powerful during her tenure with the Jicks. Jake Morris is a talented drummer, but in a more relaxed sense. He seems a better fit for Malkmus's current output, which is increasingly veering toward the ramshackle silliness of Pavement, as opposed to the epic prog-rock that had highlighted most of his solo outings.

The group started the evening with the one-two punch of the mellow "Asking Price" followed by the peppy "Stick Figures in Love" — just as they appear on Mirror Traffic. In what should have been a smooth transition, the new guy totally missed the cue to begin the second song and turned what should have been an effective opening combo into awkward silence. Despite the hiccup, "Stick Figures" was the highlight of the show. The band just killed it on this one, especially Malkmus, who let loose with ferocious lead guitar.

Per usual for a Jicks show, there were plenty of nuggets of wisdom to be dispersed by Mr. Malkmus. "Life is expensive, death is cheap. Gaddafi said that," was certainly worthy of an honorable mention since this was, in fact, muttered on the same day that Gaddafi was killed. The gold star for this evening, though, belongs to Malkmus's description of the complex relationship between his hometown of Stockton and America's finest city. I am paraphrasing: "People from Stockton come to San Diego to go to your colleges and throw up all over your city. Then they return to Stockton and find someone to get married to."

Anyone that stuck around for the whole show was treated to one of the most whacked-out encore sets I have ever witnessed. The majority of the band swapped roles, leaving Malkmus the sole member on his primary instrument. With this new lineup, the group proceeded to blaze through a ramshackle mini-set of early ’80s punk-rock classics by Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Flipper, and Redd Kross. The band started with "I've Heard It Before" by Black Flag, and, no lie, just when I was about to yell "Nervous Breakdown," the Jicks tore into it. It's always a treat when a band can read your mind.

Concert: Stephen Malkmus and the JicksDate: October 20Venue: Belly UpSeats: Floor

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Armed with rookie drummer Jake Morris, Stephen Malkmus and his Jicks returned to the Belly Up in support of their new album Mirror Trash. The band garnered a solid turnout for a Thursday night, even though the crowd did seem a little sleepy by the time the band took the stage around 10:30. The Jicks seemed a bit tired as well. I guess that's what happens when your bandleader seems to be eternally trapped in a state of having just woken up.

With ex-Sleater Kinney drummer Janet Weiss now out of the mix, the group seems to have lost a bit of it's live spark. Weiss's powerful drumming drove the band hard when they played out, and the group was surprisingly tight and powerful during her tenure with the Jicks. Jake Morris is a talented drummer, but in a more relaxed sense. He seems a better fit for Malkmus's current output, which is increasingly veering toward the ramshackle silliness of Pavement, as opposed to the epic prog-rock that had highlighted most of his solo outings.

The group started the evening with the one-two punch of the mellow "Asking Price" followed by the peppy "Stick Figures in Love" — just as they appear on Mirror Traffic. In what should have been a smooth transition, the new guy totally missed the cue to begin the second song and turned what should have been an effective opening combo into awkward silence. Despite the hiccup, "Stick Figures" was the highlight of the show. The band just killed it on this one, especially Malkmus, who let loose with ferocious lead guitar.

Per usual for a Jicks show, there were plenty of nuggets of wisdom to be dispersed by Mr. Malkmus. "Life is expensive, death is cheap. Gaddafi said that," was certainly worthy of an honorable mention since this was, in fact, muttered on the same day that Gaddafi was killed. The gold star for this evening, though, belongs to Malkmus's description of the complex relationship between his hometown of Stockton and America's finest city. I am paraphrasing: "People from Stockton come to San Diego to go to your colleges and throw up all over your city. Then they return to Stockton and find someone to get married to."

Anyone that stuck around for the whole show was treated to one of the most whacked-out encore sets I have ever witnessed. The majority of the band swapped roles, leaving Malkmus the sole member on his primary instrument. With this new lineup, the group proceeded to blaze through a ramshackle mini-set of early ’80s punk-rock classics by Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Flipper, and Redd Kross. The band started with "I've Heard It Before" by Black Flag, and, no lie, just when I was about to yell "Nervous Breakdown," the Jicks tore into it. It's always a treat when a band can read your mind.

Concert: Stephen Malkmus and the JicksDate: October 20Venue: Belly UpSeats: Floor

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