Just before striking up "Rattled by the Rush" at their concert in Millenium Park tonight,
superslacking (duh) protoindierocking (double duh) awesomeolds Pavement made an audacious claim. An audacious claim that, for a moment, struck this writer to the core, and when he came to his senses, left him with a burning desire—and a mission.
Pavement played as well as you'd expect them to at Pritzker Pavilion, a stage more likely to feature classical or world music than 90s college rock, but it didn't live up to this summer's Pitchfork-concluding fiesta. Also, and unlike all those classical and world music concerts, this one wasn't free. Two strikes, Pavamiento! But, with one mumblecore phrase, everything that came before ceased to matter like it was February 9, 1963 all over again, Beatles fans. Pavement claimed to have played the University of Chicago. A lot.
Perhaps employing a common Pavement device—sarcasm, that elegant batchelor—lead singer Stephen Malkmus told the not-near-large-enough crowd that the band really loved playing in Chicago. He paused, and then mumbled: "We've played the University of Chicago more times than people attend classes there."
Think about that. More than people attend classes there. That would be a lot of times, ladies and gentlemen. That would be a lot of great tuneskis belted out into Mandel Hall, Cobb Coffeeshop, WHPK (gotta love Pure Hype, amirite?). Probably more times than even the most dedicated, hard-working band plays gigs in an entire career (and Pavement is not one of those bands). Let's just say you were into Pavement enough to believe that ludicrous statement for just a second. Imagine what a second that would be! I can tell you it felt a lot like this song sounds:
Of course, Pavement haven't played that many gigs at the U of C, nor have they even played one, according to
recorded history the Internet. The closest we come to a Pavement connection is this: Cosmatesque Pavement in S. Maria in Cosmedin, and that just won't do, ladies and gentlemen.
So we at the Maroon are hereby extending an offer to Pavement, for them to take up whenever. Come play more shows at the University of Chicago than people attend classes here. We can guarantee at least...hmmm...one person from the Maroon showing up at every show. Seems like a good time will be had by all.
UPDATE: Mellow Jazz Docent offers her own memory as proof that Pavement did indeed play UChicago in 1995—a happy revelation for those of us who weren't six years old that year. For us, we may never "rest assured [that] the show did occur!" Mellow, although I do appreciate your writing and correcting me. For us, all we have left is to demand all the harder that Pavement come back to campus and play more slacking shows than people ever even attended classes there.
It's only right.