The power of Pavement and cross generational lineups

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The power of Pavement and cross generational lineups

Words by Mixdown Staff

This past weekend, the Mixdown crew checked out the inaugural Tentpole Festival at Geelong’s Mount Duneed estate.

For millennial/Gen Z crate diggers of the indie rock persuasion, Pavement’s music has always been pedestaled as somewhat of a foundational text – a necessary stop on a road map of the 90s pieced together through DV cam footage on YouTube, our parent’s CDs and Spotify deep dives. 

Read more gear features, artist interviews and how-to columns here.

Though the brand broke up in 1999, their influence has steadily continued to deepen and spread, and with a recent bout of TikTok vitality under their belt, it’s clear that there’s something about Pavement, from their laissez faire Cali boy cool, to their dynamic guitar arrangements, and lyrics that pluck piercing poetry from the everyday, with an undeniably evergreen appeal.

At the inaugural Tentpole Festival at Geelong’s Mount Duneed Estate – which the event’s MC continued to joke playfully was conceived out of the sheer desire for a Pavement topped festival bill – with a warm breeze drifting under a dazzling night sky, a wholly diverse crowd of punters gathered before Stephen Malkmus, Scott ‘Spiral Stairs’ Kannberg, Mark Ibold, and Steve West – with Bob Nastanovich out of office for the second time ever due to a physical injury.

From misty-eyed teens, to parents with babies, to middle aged mates arm in arm with the adolescent sparkle that comes from finally seeing your heroes live for the first time. Though the internet seems desperate to try and convince us of immutable traits that make generational clashes inevitable, immersed in the glow of shared love for a heritage band, that thinking quickly crumbles away. 

Tentpole’s entire lineup was programmed with an ethos of celebrating renegade rock music, old and emergent. The first collaboration between Roundhouse Entertainment (the team behind Australia’s iconic outdoor summer concert series a day on the green), Love Police (led by music maverick Brian ‘BT’ Taranto, promoter of excellent international tours Out On The Weekend & Boogie, merch guru, book publisher and record label wiz) and Johann Ponniah, founder of I OH YOU (home to one of the country’s most successful independent record labels) – the minds behind Tentpole combined decades of expertise in booking the finest bands from all over the globe to give punters a refreshing and singular experience.

The day’s vibes sat at the pleasant axis of family friendly, with picnic blankets and snack spreads littered over the grass, and high-energy rock punting, with plenty of space between the two parallel stages, bars and chill out zones meaning there was an enjoyable option for everyone.

Warming the crowd up for the highly anticipated Pavement were Aussie indie rock royalty Spiderbait, legendary Geelong locals Magic Dirt, Texan blues alt-country singer-songwriter Charley Crockett, Melbourne alt-pop-rock faves Floodlights, San Diego rock’n’soulers The Schizophrenics, US garage punk rockers Black Lips, post-punk trio legends MOD CON, power pop rockers The Prize, punk power trio CLAMM, Bellarine-based psychedelic dream pop, prog rockers Sirens, and a last minute addition, charismatic crooner Jerikye Williams.

With no clashes and only two stages, each act had their moment to shine. The day’s playing order, too, made for dynamic and varied entertainment – hopping from soaring Australiana jangle, to rich country twang to bands of the durgier, head banging inducing variety. 

All in all, Tentpole was a testament to the joys of the well-planned and curated all-ages event, and the whole team here at Mixdown is certainly rooting for its return. Though it’s probably unlikely that we’ll see Pavement on our shores any time again soon, if the impetus for a fantastic and inclusive day like this one was an act that transcends time and age-demo – then it’s clear that we need to continue to look back through our catalogues!

Read more about Pavement’s recent Australia tour here.