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Concerts à emporter
#86

Stephen Malkmus

When we left the café, he was waiting for us, leaning against a wall, smoking a cigarette. He looked like he wasn’t expecting anything, just smoking. He looked older, too, quite imposing, but Stephen Malkmus remained true to what we imagined. A cool guy who didn’t seem able to be disappointed or pissed off by anything in the world–but who was also unprepared to really invest at all. A guy with a guitar who was about to sing three folk songs for us, then forget about it, then tell his friends we asked him to do Pavement…

But who cares. For me, as for many people I think, this entire session was justified in only one second. We were on a bridge over the Canal St Martin, at 49 seconds on the video. His voice went out of tune, carrying singularity, charm, the story of a band we once loved.

It goes without saying: the low-key Malkmus was not a fascinating subject to explore for our impetuous Moon. He never paid attention to Pavement or to Malkmus’ solo stuff, so, in his eyes, here was just a man who did not show much. Luckily, Paris was a great help in cheering up the whole session. A pile of chairs in a dark alley, a samba lesson in the basement…

…And then, this door that opened to the back of the Gibus, a famous club. It was empty: only two workmen were there, but they were too busy to talk. Malkmus wandered in the empty corridors like an erratic troubadour in that sleeping rock club.

Then Malkmus said goodbye, and left…

Nate Chan more or less warned us once. He had filmed Stephan Malkmus with the Jicks when they played at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. No Pavement, no Jicks… Just an anarchic bunch of old R.E.M. covers. Go figure!

Translated by Nora