Stephen Malkmus makes for an unlikely rock god. The former frontman of indie rock heroes Pavement has made a virtue of self-effacing humour, and his admirable lack of willingness to play the pop star game.
It could be construed that Malkmus is head-strong, or just plain difficult, but he is certainly a genuinely intriguing character.
Playing his guitar behind his head, Malkmus drifts briefly into Purple Haze, before ambling offstage - there is a sense of quiet awe among the audience, which tells you that this is a special performer.
What happens before Malkmus launches into Hendrix territory is inspiring if a little baffling. On his third solo album, Face the Truth, the Portlandbased songwriter rediscovered his knack for writing accessible songs, dealing in brash new wave, sunshine pop and progrock - he seems to have inverted the usual career trajectory for a solo artist, his material becoming more immediate with each release.
On stage, it seems as though some of the flabby excesses familiar to long-term fans are still in place, and his band the Jicks seem to egg him on - opener Post-Paint Boy features an extended coda - but Malkmus has clearly developed a kind of self-restraint. Pencil Rot and new single Baby C'Mon are dispensed with heart-warming vigour, as are tracks from his first two solo records.
He might be an improbable victor, but Malkmus shows that intelligence, wit and sheer single-mindedness will always have a place in pop music, and few here would contest his place in the pantheon.