David Berman, who founded the legendary indie band Silver Jews and relaunched his career this year with a new project called Purple Mountains, died by suicide last month. Since then, a number of admirers have covered Berman’s songs in tribute, including his longtime Drag City labelmate Bill Callahan, Animal Collective, First Aid Kit, and Nothing’s Dominic Palermo. Last night in Glasgow, a particularly meaningful name was added to that list.
When Berman first formed Silver Jews, his bandmates were Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich, both of whom also soon became a part of Pavement. Malkmus played on the Jews’ 1994 debut Starlite Walker and returned for 1998’s American Water, even singing lead on a few songs. His involvement sometimes led to people classifying Silver Jews as a Pavement side project, a perception Berman rightfully worked to avoid. Nonetheless, he and Malkmus will always be aligned in the indie rock history books, so it was significant when Malkmus shared his condolences the day of Berman’s death — even more so that he has now played one of Berman’s greatest songs onstage in tribute.
At a solo show in Glasgow last night at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Malkmus performed Starlite Walker opener “Trains Across The Sea,” one of the songs Callahan chose to cover a few weeks ago in New York. As far as we know, it’s the first time he’s played the song in concert. So it was a special moment, and because someone has uploaded footage to YouTube, we all get to share in it if we want.
Watch Malkmus’ “Trains Across The Sea” cover below.
UPDATE: As Pitchfork points out, Malkmus also performed American Water closer “The Wild Kindness,” and you can watch that one below too.