Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks @ KOKO, London 14th November 2011

Following last year’s acclaimed Pavement reunion tour, indie rock icon Stephen Malkmus returned to London once again, but this time with his merry band of Jicks for company.

Camden Town’s KOKO was almost at full capacity to see SM take to the stage in support of his band’s excellent sixth LP, Mirror Traffic.

Those who had turned up this cold November night were not to be disappointed. Malkmus was on top form both on a musical and comical level: taking time between songs to playfully diss ex-Libertine Carl Barat, dedicate a song to the crumbling Euro currency and promise to play on “until blood is shed.”

Opening with the country tinged single ‘Tigers’ the band rattled through a set packed full of brilliant hooks and melodies, pure guitar noise and lyrical smarts.

Among the many highlights were a raucous version of ‘Senator’, moving rendition of  ‘No One Is (As I Are Be)’ (which Malkmus sweetly dedicated to the late Bert Jansch), and a thrilling take on the riff-heavy ‘Stick Figures in Love’.

Malkmus also picked out the excellent ‘Animal Midnight’, ‘Baby C’mon’ and ‘Jenny and the Ess-Dog’ from the band’s surprisingly deep and consistent back catalogue, serving to remind us just how long it has truly been since Terror Twilight hit the shelves.

One or two of the longer jams slow down the momentum of the set slightly (particularly in the encore) and it would have been lovely to hear tighter songs such as ‘Black Book’ or ‘Church on White’ in their place.

Overall though it was another great show from the irrepressible Malkmus, and the band’s thrilling rendition of The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’ to end the set ensured that the Jicks left the stage with applause ringing in their ears and a growing reputation as a major live attraction.