Review – Pavement Brought the ’90s Back to Life at Paramount Theatre

The smell of weed wafted through the air and Pavement tees abounded — the world had spun backward in time, taking us back to the ’90s (and if you know me personally, act like you don’t know that I was in fact never alive during that decade). Pavement is the quintessential ’90s band, one with an almost cult following and a discography plentiful enough to fill a never-ending concert.  That’s why it was no surprise that the room was packed Monday night for their show at the Paramount Theatre in support of their most recent reunion tour, with their last being in 2010. 

The night began with a subdued — yet below the surface squirming with excitement — crowd weaving in and out of the venue grounds, conversing with others and grabbing drinks before the big show. At 8:45 p.m. on the dot, without a second wasted, Pavement entered the stage and immediately revived a nostalgia 25 years passed. Starting off on a lighter note with their song, “Grounded” the band immediately captivated the audience as they eased them in. 

The group played a mix of fan favorites and hidden gems from their body of work, pleasing every level of fan. Working their way through their discography, the band continued with the slower theme, playing songs such as “Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite At :17” and “Starlings in the Slipstream.”

As the show unraveled into simultaneously the most seamless and energized set, the crowd began to unravel, pushing up to the front despite the assigned seating and moving their hips along to the tunes. The age demographic of the crowd, ranging from young kids to grown adults who have followed Pavement since their prime, was evidence of the band’s power to transcend age and impact every generation of listeners. 

Increasing the tempo with their song “Stereo,” the synergetic excitement between the crowd and the band members instantly permeated the venue. The band carried on with the setlist, playing fan favorites “Cut Your Hair,” “Harness Your Hopes” and “Range Life,” as well as a steady mix of other crowd-pleasers. Each song played was delivered with such ease, showcasing how the band maintained their characteristic cool and nonchalant attitude. 

In support of their easeful delivery, the band’s chemistry and comfortability on stage elevated the performance to a level that affirmed their legendary status. Each member flowed seamlessly with their instruments, having their own private conversations while also maintaining the experience and mastery of communicating via the music with one another. Each member was free-flowing and radiated with unique personality, whether in Stephen Malkmus’ subtle dance moves during guitar solos or Bob Nastanovich’s enthusiastic tambourine playing and backup vocals. It was clear that each member played a significant role in the delivery of the music and was having fun while doing it.

The band played their song “The Hexx” before the fake-out ending and inevitable encore which included songs “Summer Babe,” “Fin,” “Silence Kid,” “Two States” and “Type Slowly.” Even with a jam-packed finale, the audience was drooling for more, leaving Denver’s Pavement fans itching for the possibility of another reunion tour in years to come.

All photography by Adrienne Thomas