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Live Review: Stephen Malkmus & The Kicks, Ocean Party

11 March 2015 | 10:29 am | Holly Keys

The indie-rock band bring their love of music to the stage.

Wagga Wagga band Ocean Party open the night, squashing their six members onto The Toff’s small stage. They sing simple but honest indie rock and despite the crowd being small are working everyone in the room.

During the interlude between sets the crowd grows, a mix of twentysomethings and silver-haired Pavement fans.

Out come Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and before jumping into a song, Malkmus banters with the crowd in the chilled-out sarcastic tone for which he’s famous. He complains that he tried to get directions to the Melbourne Museum from a cop who didn’t know where it was, before saying he thinks Peter Garrett is cool.

The band then blasts into Baby C’mon and the previously relaxed crowd starts to move. The band is energetic and their live sound is much dirtier than the records, once again proving that rock music is always better live.

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After a bit of a soundcheck due to mic troubles the band plays a couple of tracks from their latest LP, Wig Out At Jagbags. The crowd gets boppy during Cinnamon & Lesbians – a song about a jar of cinnamon sticks and a lesbian couple. Malkmus sings that he’s been tripping his face off since breakfast. The Jicks sound taps into the ‘90s slacker feel that made their frontman famous whilst at no point falling into the trap of shallow nostalgia.

Malkmus then engages in a little more banter with the crowd; he’s conversational and taking questions. He tells the audience that America sucks unless you want to make it, whilst bassist Joanne Bolm plays AC/DC’s It’s A Long Way To The Top. The cheerful cynicism of Malkmus’ lyrics oozes out in his stage presence. For such a legend he has a chilled-out and approachable vibe.

The band then jumps into Asking Price, during which drummer Jake Morris kills it with a short but impressive solo. The band then gets heavier with the distorted guitar of Shibboleth.

During Freeze The Saints Malkmus gets the crowd clapping before joining Mike Clark on the keys. The Jicks clearly love what they do, a feeling that then translates to the crowd.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks finish their set with an abrasive wall of sound before coming back for a three-song encore that features Pavement classic, Stereo.

A person in the crowd shouts out that the band should do a ten-song encore and Malkmus smiles.