The Wax Conspiracy

Slow Century - goodnight to the rock and roll era

I have an unfortunate tendency to discover bands shortly after they have either just finished a tour or have broken up.
I remember that I discovered Sebadoh soon after they'd gone home after supporting 'The Sebadoh'.
I also remember my elation at having discovered The Psycho Realm. Elation that soon turned to complete disillusionment when I heard that Duke (Gustavo Gonzalez) had been shot and was paralysed from the neck down.

Another band that I discovered belatedly was Pavement. I discovered Pavement when people (the internet and friends) were suggesting that if I liked Lou Barlow I would like a certain gentleman by the name of Malkmus and his certain new CD by the name of 'Stephen Malkmus'.
With a little bit of research I discovered that Stephen Malkmus was previously in a band called Pavement.
Unfortunately it was the release of Stephen Malkmus' 'Stephen Malkmus' album that had effectively confirmed the demise of Pavement.

I did manage to see Stephen Malkmus (supporting the 'Stephen Malkmus' album) and Spiral Stairs (Preston School Of Industry (supporting the 'All This Sounds Gas' album)), however, I always longed to see Pavement live. I knew that there would always be a little something missing and that that something would always be missing until something (possibly a different something) came along to recreate that, something, experience. Something.

Soon after, rumours began circulating about a magical Pavement DVD (called 'Slow Century') which would not only fulfill whatever Pavement closure one was looking for it would also help you dowse for water and help prevent bubonic cancer.
I had long suspected that these rumours were, just that, rumours. I had looked for it on Amazon. There was a listing for the product and a whole bunch of reviews. However, it soon became clear that the people making the reviews hadn't seen the DVD and weren't sure if it was going to be released; they were just fucking with the Amazon rating system. I know because I had a go at it myself and wrote a bogus review. It was taken down a little later.
I began to suspect that the DVD was either going to be like the second coming (going?) of Christ (like a thief in the night) or it wasn't ever going to eventuate (like my chances of living a decent, happy, productive life). Going.

However, just recently I had gone into the city to purchase a few CDs when, on a whim, I decided to check to see if the Pavement DVD was there. There it was, like a thief in the night, and what a thief? The damn thing cost me 60 bucks but I can't really complain on account that it did come with two discs and a picture of an early incarnation of the band playing live complete with Gary Young standing on his head.
I also bought 'Plastic Surgery Disasters' by the Dead Kennedys.

I will now review both discs for your gradual acceptance or cruel dismissal:

Disc 1:
It says on the back of the DVD pack that there is a 60 minute documentary. I have no idea why they decided to say that the documentary only lasts for an hour when it actually lasts for about 90 minutes. I guess it's some sort of clever marketing scheme where you attempt to convince consumers that your product isn't as good as it actually is. I don't know; I'm not a tailor.
Included in the documentary are the last three songs that Pavement ever played live. I can't for the life of me remember what songs they were but I do remember that one song was from 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' and that the other two were from 'Slanted & Enchanted'. I think that they may have been 'Stop Breathin', 'Conduit For Sale' and 'Here' but don't take my word for it as I am not a tailor. Wait, do take my word for it; I just checked. I am not a tailor.
The documentary itself traces the history of the band from 1989 to 1999. It features interviews with the band and other rock luminaries like Thurston Moore (he's so dreamy). It also contains footage of a whole bunch of songs being played live.
Also available are some outtakes from the documentary which include a segment where Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth discusses Courtney Love's attempt to seduce Malkmus, footage of the band rehearsing for the new album and, oh yeah, footage of Bob Nastanovich after he just pissed his pants. Again, don't ask me, I'm not a tailor.

The Pavement music videos are also a giddy little delight. There are 13 in toto with three extra alternate videos. Pavement video clips were always kinda surreal and it's a bit of a trip to see them all in a row.
The video clips come with two sets of commentaries. One is by the band and the other is by either the directors or by different guests (such as Thurston Moore or Kim Gordon).
The band commentary is just the band talking shit as opposed to any real commentary but that, I think, makes the whole enterprise more exciting.

Disc 2:
There are two complete concerts available with two different camera angles. The first concert is from Seattle, WA, July 14, '99 and the second from Manchester, UK, Nov 19, '99.
The first concert has 19 songs and concentrates on songs from the Terror Twilight album. Of all the Pavement albums I thought that Terror Twilight was probably the weakest. I thought that half of the songs on Terror Twilight were absolutely amazing and that the other half were kinda 'meh'. Live, however, the songs all sound great.
The second concert has only seven songs and is considerably shorter. Having said that, I like the second concert more. This is because the second concert has 'Range Life', 'Grounded', and 'Unfair'. It ends with 'Summer Babe' which then segues nicely into a cover of Cornershop's 'Brimful of Asha'.
The audio/visual qualities of both concerts are exceptional and if you don't like what's on the screen, well, you can just lump it. If you aren't in the mood to lump it, you can flick to another camera angle.

Well, that's it, but stay tuned because next week I'll discuss why I would have been a better person had I come from a broken home.

Update: I have recently been made aware that there is an easter egg on the Pavement DVD.
If, on the menu that contains the documentary options, you move the cursor and highlight the 'P' in 'Pavement', you get taken to some bonus live concert footage.
The songs that are performed are an early version of what would apparently become an R.E.M. tribute called "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence" and "Conduit For Sale!"

cycle of life
central theme of figure
a sequence of changing states
bound by inactivity; inert

Belvedere Jehosophat

Reviewed on Saturday, 1 February 2003

The Wax Conspiracy




Other reviews by Belvedere Jehosophat