Pavement Warms Up In New York

Feb. 11 [14:00 EST] -- Pavement wrapped up a string of three New York City shows with a splendidly frenetic set at the Westbeth Theater Center Saturday night.

The group hit the Westbeth after playing New York University and CBGB's to crowds that were peppered with luminaries like Keanu Reeves, Blur's Damon Albarn, and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. Saturday's show was no exception as Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon was among the seemingly more-than-capacity crowd that poured into the tiny theater to catch a glimpse of the band.

The group has taken to smaller venues to road test new material from its upcoming "Brighten the Corners" album (due February 11), and the band's sets have been schizophrenic so far. However, it was an engaging, adventurous, and almost playful Pavement that arrived at Westbeth Saturday night.

The group launched into its set with a chunk of older material, and singer/percussionist Bob Nastanovich soon joked, "We thought we'd start out like it was

1992." The band quickly worked through their five-year recording history, and after 1994¼s "Gold Soundz" segued into 1995's "Kennel District," the group locked into a set of new material. Never mind that "Brighten the Corners" doesn't hit stores until next Tuesday, devotees were still shouting requests for new tracks like "Stereo," "Shady Lane," and "We Are Underused."

The band took even more musical chances during its set than it does on its albums, using its songs as springboards for a spiraling, screeching sound that is always rooted in pop structure. Whether it was Nastanovich madly wailing into the microphone, Steve West pounding his drums with a pair of mallets, Steve Malkmus sleepily pouring out his lyrics, Scott Kannburg ripping the air with his guitar, or Mark Ibold smiling wider than Texas while laying down a bassline, each member of the Pavement brought something energizing to the set.

If the clamorous pop spell that the band worked over the crowd Saturday

night is any indication of the tour they will launch later this year, 1997 could be a very big year for Pavement.

You can see for yourself at the following venues:

2/11 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Club 2/13 - Atlanta, GA @ Point 2/14 - Atlanta, GA @ Point 2/15 - Chicago, IL @ Double Door 2/17 - Chicago, IL @ Lounge Ax 2/19 - Seattle, WA @ Moe 2/20 - Seattle, WA @ RKCNDY 2/22 - San Francisco, CA @ Kilowatt Club 2/23 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill 2/26 - Silver Lake, CA @ Spaceland 2/27 - West Hollywood, CA @ Roxy Theatre