By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Chapel marks the 50th birthday of Pavement co-founder Spiral Stairs (aka Scott Kannberg) with two shows featuring his onetime bandmate Stephen Malkmus and his current group the Jicks and an impressive line-up of support acts.
Kannberg and Malkmus put the Central Valley city of Stockton on the map in the late ’80s when the pair started recording music together as Pavement in 1989. A series of tuneful, lo-fi noise pop EPs established the group as a unique new voice the underground rock scene, earning the band critical praise and comparisons to like-minded post-punk mavericks including Mark E. Smith’s group The Fall, R.E.M and Sonic Youth.
By the time Pavement recorded it’s proper debut album Slanted and Enchanted, the band had filled out to include drummer Gary Young (who helped record and produce the early EPs at his home studio), bassist Mark Ibold and percussionist Bob Nastanovich. Matador Records released the album in 1992 was quickly hailed as a modern rock classic with its mix of fractured arrangements, indelible melodies and Malkmus’ well-crafted lyrics.
Pavement would rise to become one of the most beloved bands of the decade, producing a string of celebrated efforts including the equally adored, more accessible 1994 follow-up Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, the following year’s sprawlingly experimental Wowee Zowie and the focused indie-rock tunefulness of Brighten the Corners.
The band dissolved following their swan song recording Terror Twilight in 1999, but Malkmus and Kannberg has already ventured into solo work and other projects prior to the official split in 2000. Kannberg unveiled his SF band Preston School of Industry, while Malkmus launched a solo career and eventually formed a new group, the Jicks.
The pair of shows slated for Kannberg’s birthday weekend celebration originally featured the Jicks headlining the Sunday concert, but the cancellation of acclaimed New Zealand act the Clean due to a family emergency led Malkmus and company to top the bill both nights. The Jicks are promising to unearth some special tunes for the festivities, making these shows the closest thing to a Pavement reunion since that group reconvened for festival dates and a tour in 2010.
Additional acts on Saturday include SF’s favorite danceable post-punks Dirty Ghosts playing with Kannberg, a set by local all-star Roxy Music tribute band For Your Pleasure, and show organizer Parker Gibbs (aka DJ Foodcourt) spinning records. On Sunday, Peacers featuring former Sic Alps frontman Mike Donavan and ex Thee Oh Sees drummer Mike Shoun play with musical selections from DJ Big Nate.
Spiral Stairs’ 50th Birthday with Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 p.m. $32-$35 (Sun. sold out)