Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks / Blitzen Trapper Pyramid Cabaret, Winnipeg MB October 27

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks / Blitzen Trapper Pyramid Cabaret, Winnipeg MB October 27
The return of Stephen Malkmus to a Winnipeg stage came 14 years after he last graced the city playing with Pavement who were then cementing their status as indie rock heroes. Backed at this latest visit by the Jicks and new drummer Janet Weiss, Malkmus showed off his recent fixation with extended jams and long haul guitar solos.

The early evening show was kicked off by Portland’s Blitzen Trapper who delivered a solid blast of ’70s inspired rock and folk pop with spot on vocal harmonies and polished instrumentation. After a brief break Malkmus and the Jicks emerged.

Throughout the night, Malkmus was in a playful mood, holding his guitar aloft to ring feedback from it, jamming drumsticks between the strings à la Thurston Moore and making cracks about needing a nurse after banging his thumb.

Along with briefly dipping back to Pig Lib and Face the Truth, the majority of the set centred unsurprisingly around his latest full-length, Real Emotional Trash. From the epic ten-minute journey of that disc’s title track to the ascending, slow melodies of "Out of Reaches” and the stoned, psychedelic grooves of "Dragonfly Pie” the group brought an unwaveringly strong level of musicality.

While on record Real Emotional Trash’s long jams can seem excessive, on stage the songs had an added boost, made more compelling by the sheer physicality of Malkmus and Weiss’ playing. Along with bringing a strong percussive edge, newest member and ex-Sleater-Kinney timekeeper Weiss added rich backing vocals that gave another layer to the group’s sound.

Wrapping up their encore, Malkmus and the Jicks tore through a rollicking version of the Rolling Stones’ psychedelic gem "Citadel,” which ended an immaculate night of sound.