It's hard to take Stephen Malkmus too seriously. Heroin-thin and with hair in his eyes, the ex-Pavement frontman was the star of the show Sunday, but he never acted the part.
Indie rock icon Malkmus was comfortable and comedic on the Cat's Cradle's stage. His signature speak-singing delivery and his Philly falsetto were in fine form, and he screeched his slacker yelp whenever he could fit it.
Even though most people in the packed crowd were calling out Pavement song titles, it was hard to be disappointed with Malkmus' solo material. His new songs were already strong, but in the show he twisted his lyrical delivery playfully, tossing the words from his throat in casual carelessness.
Malkmus and his accomplished backing trio, the Jicks, balance their different styles well. "Jennifer and the Ess-Dog" and "Phantasies" were bouncy and bright, while "Trojan Curfew" and "Church on White" were dreamy and languid midtempo numbers -- as slow as Malkmus goes.