It was obvious by the number of text messages, calls and emails received by The Spin throughout the day Saturday that the secret of a potential Pavement reunion show going down at The 5 Spot was out. The long-defunct band's percussionist and mascot Bob Nastanovich was married in Nashville and a wedding party--open to the public and billed on The 5 Spot's MySpace page as "Secret Show"--was scheduled at the East Nashville haunt. With four of five Pavement band members (all but Scott Kannberg) expected to be attending, speculation inevitably turned to the possibility of an unrehearsed impromptu reunion.
As early as 8:30, Nashville's scenesters began pouring into the club, giving Stop Gap what must have been one of their largest crowds in recent memory. As a feeling of collective suspense grew more and more palpable, it became increasingly apparent that the expectation of an honest-to-God Pavement reunion was quickly blowin' way out of proportion, as the room was abuzz with talk of a "great show with historic importance." We weren't so sure. The show did turn out to be great, just not quite in the way we had hoped.
For two hours, we waited in anticipation as the size of the crowd metastasized well beyond capacity, much to the chagrin of the arriving wedding guests. As the unwieldy crowd smashed us against someone in a tuxedo, we explained that word had reached the street about a possible Pavement reunion. "Well, they're in the building," the bemused reveler said. Silver Jew David Berman was among those who took a bewildered look at the seething masses and thought better of it, cutting out early.
A little after 11 p.m., the party finally got started with the house band of the evening Tim, Chad and Sherry. The band--featuring Silver Jews alumni William Tyler and Brian Kotzur--entertained all 250 or so of us with badass renditions of wedding staples like "Proud Mary," "Bennie and the Jets" and a rendition of "What a Fool Believes" that we couldn't help think was directed at all of us gawkers who were clogging up the place. As we watched Bob Nastanovich dance with his new bride to a second consecutive performance of "Soft Country" a sense of guilt--telling us that this wasn't our party--began to wash over us. We were committing a flagrant act of social voyeurism. Our bad.
Of course, we weren't alone. Just the presence of former Pavement frontguy Stephen Malkmus, who sat just to the left of the stage for much of the evening, inspired enough conspiratorial glances from fellow interlopers to last us a good long while. It was just as we spotted his bandmates Mark Ibold and Steve West that Malkmus took to the stage, at last providing some sort of payoff for those hoping to brag to their friends the next day. The payoff came in the form of Malkmus, effortlessly charming as ever, leading the crowd through ramshackle sing-alongs of Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love" and The O' Jays "Love Train." Seeing the Teflon Don of indie cred briefly moonlighting as a wedding singer (in a monogrammed dress shirt, no less) was hilariously surreal, and by the time the band started into Marble Valley's "FCC Party," Malkmus, Ibold, West and Nastanovich were all onstage, along with a dozen or so other party guests.
And that would be the closest thing to a Pavement reunion we would get on this night. Those who were disappointed by what they saw--or didn't see--probably shouldn't have even been there in the first place, and neither should we. So that's what we get for blowing up the (5) Spot. (Sorry, Bob & Co.) That said, we got wasted with 200 of our closest friends and a bunch of people who had no idea what the fuck we were doing at their reception, inadvertently making for one of the best parties of this young year.