Pavement’s Revival: Alternative Rock of The 90’s

September 1, 2010

Everything revolutionary turns into nostalgia. Ask the middle-aged folk who were college kids during the indie-rock uprising of the 1990s. They’re just encountering real sonic sentimentality for the first time. The bands providing that faded soundtrack, either nostalgic themselves or eager to fund retirements, are hitting the road. Most noteworthy is Pavement (Queen Elizabeth Theatre, September 7). The Stockton, California, quintet experienced only modest success in its original incarnation (1989-99), but its unmistakable blend of melody and discord, ramshackle musicianship and razor-sharp wit became a touchstone to countless modern acts.

The reunited Pavement plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre—a venue more than twice the size of any it previously headlined in Vancouver. Meanwhile, Japanese female trio Shonen KnifeBiltmore Cabaret, September 9) never broke up—in fact, they’ve existed in various forms since 1981—but the early ’90s was the band’s heyday, when the likes of Nirvana and Sonic Youth feted them. They still sound like the Ramones as played by the Powerpuff Girls, which proves some things are immune to the ravages of time. And perennial Oklahoma freaks The Flaming Lips Malkin Bowl, September 26) are a lesson in growing old gracefully. Frontman Wayne Coyne and his cohorts may be approaching 50, but in choosing tailored suits and stately grey hair over denim and dye (and constant sonic experimentation over endless noise) they make the fading of youth seem like cause for celebration. 604-280-4444. Ticketmaster.ca

 To know more about Vancouver's music scene, check out these articles:

The Neo-Hippies: Vancouver Magazine's music critic picks this generation's hippies. By Michael White

Dan Mangan: Singer-songwriter Dan Mangan answers our questions and talks about his distinctive Northwest soun. By Charlene Rooke

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