Live Review: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Violet Swells

3 March 2015 | 12:18 pm | Chloe Mayne

An incredibly endearing set from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks.

A troupe of devoted fans clustered in Hobart's Republic Bar on Sunday night as Stephen Malkmus brought his Jicks into town for a special, intimate headline show.

Malkmus has previously reached international influence and adoration with indie-slacker outfit Pavement, known for their off-kilter pop jams and melancholic undertones that owed plenty to Malkmus' unmistakably lilted voice and simple, powerful songwriting. With the dissolution of Pavement 15 years ago, Malkmus has carried this signature through to his most recent project. As prolific as ever, the Jicks have released six albums since their formation in 2000.

The evening's support slot was provided by local psychedelic poppers Violet Swells, who have been on a steadily sky-set trajectory since their sudden emergence onto the scene. It was a set met with adoration from their stronghold of fans, and they pushed onward through a few sound issues to put on an excellent show, cementing themselves as one of Hobart's most exciting up-and-coming acts.

As the headliners climbed aboard the stage, the crowd gathered in tight, and the band launched into a gorgeous set that left faces grinning and cheeks aglow. Spanning the many halls of the group's existence, it featured a number of tracks from Wig Out At Jigbags including Cinnamon And Lesbians and Lariat. Perhaps the most marked characteristic of Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks' performance was their understatement. As Malkmus burst into the first string of songs for the set, his fingers flew up and down the fretboard with dexterity. Things were smooth, low-key and slung back with the simultaneous sensation of looseness and precision that can only be achieved by a group of their calibre.

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Malkmus was incredibly endearing, chatting away to the crowd at length between tracks. They appreciated it, bouncing back with hearty banter and, more importantly, roars of applause and cheers that far exceeded their modest size. By the time the band left the stage, the clapping and hooting had magnified to a robust holler that insisted upon their return. The request was granted, as were earlier pleas for some Pavement tracks. As the band put down their instruments and the house lights crept on, audience members stood around in starry-eyed huddles - in all, a very impressive performance bolstered by the enthusiasm and gentle appreciation being swapped from both sides.