Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vintage Tracks 3: Pavement - In The Mouth A Desert

Time for our monthly trip down memory lane for the third installment of Vintage Tracks, the series we have dedicated to the presentation of videos of truly great tracks.

March 2010 marks the return of Pavement to the live scene for their first shows in a decade. To celebrate this much anticipated reunion of one of the best bands that the '90s alternative universe had to offer, we have unearthed (thanks to the magic of the internet) a video from a vintage Pavement performance from the Reading Festival of 1992. This was actually my first Pavement live experience, as I was lucky enough to attend that historical event, with Nirvana headlining on the third day, Sunday, August 30th (see also here). A storm the previous night had already turned the field into a swamp, more suitable for mud baths than concerts, but with so much great music on offer no one seemed to care. Getting to the festival site was not easy thanks to the slippery conditions and the large amount of people trying to get in, which meant that I didn't get to see the band that opened the main stage that day, The Melvins. I was just in time for Screaming Trees though, who were quickly followed by a band I had recently discovered, going by the rather bizarre name of Pavement. John Peel, who introduced them on stage, was already a fan and their blistering set turned out to be one of the highlights of an amazing festival.

It was in June of that year that I had bought what turned out to be one of my top 20 favorite albums of the '90s, the astonishing "Slanted And Enchanted" (June 24 - same day I got "Dirty Boots" by Sonic Youth and "Hit Parade 1" by The Wedding Present - certainly an unforgettable listening experience for me that summer evening). Yes, it was reminiscent of The Fall here and there ("Our Singer" starts with the beat from "Hip Priest" and you could swear that "Two States" is a cover of a "Slates" outtake) but their songwriting had its own unique personality, mixing weird melodies with idiosyncratic beats to create a stunningly original end result, bringing gritty post-punk and sunny indie pop together.

One of the album's standout tracks for me is "In The Mouth A Desert" (which, for some reason, I always thought it made the perfect companion to The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?") and below you can watch it along with "Perfume-V" from the excellent, wind-swept performance of Pavement in the 1992 Reading Festival. This is how the legend of Pavement began:

Pavement - "Perfume-V" and "In The Mouth A Desert" from Reading Festival, Aug. 30, 1992

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