Pixies, Thursday 2nd, Riverstage
Words from Alex Crowley
Wow ! Pixies were fantastic tonight, only 3000 punters but made it seem like “intimate mode” at Riverstage. From the time they came on stage there was no idle onstage chatter / it was just smash the songs out bang bang bang! And wow! Paz, new bass player. She’s amazing and adds another level to the band. Her gorgeous voice complemented the familiar voice of Francis and her bass playing skills are high standard rock chick! Why do girls make smashing bass players?
Note – the following paragraph contains sections that could be deemed as tongue-in-cheek and not necessarily to be taken at face value.
The night starts with a gathering in a local bar. Our organiser Joe has done a fine job of convincing even those unfamiliar with the Pixies that they are lifelong fans and Hugh and John (apparently thinking the band tonight was to be Adam and the Ants) are along. But it is the dusty bearded man sharing our table who surprises most, turning out to be an incognito Derek, in from the bush and wearing the fake beard in fear of the proximity to QLD Parliament, where he is currently being mentioned for speaking the unspeakable.
We wander in through the endless crowds and security, a long and inconvenient s shaped path into the venue seems designed specifically to annoy those entering. We are early enough to find space in the area close to the stage – loving the feeling of cement underfoot. To me the joy of being in an outdoor environment for a concert is undermined by so many things here – the curfew, security, cement.
But back to the Pixies. One band that I had never managed to see in all the years. The band are tight, always amazing to hear their repertoire, playing for an hour and a half or so and so many songs, some with strong connections others so familiar (and many others of course).
- Monkey Gone to Heaven – just classic
- Gouge Away – indeed sounds intense enough to convince
- Into The White – great finisher
- Where Is My Mind, Debaser – great on the night
- The guy standing in front of me dancing as he video-ed one song. Even when he had the camera pointed at the band the footage would induce something like sea-sickness. But as he swayed the camera quickly focused on people in front, the sky. No doubt lots of joy ahead watching that footage.
Talking as we leave, in our group and surrounding people (and yes with the long slow procession to leave the venue, much opportunity for such discussion) – the consensus view seems to be of a band playing by numbers through their long repertoire. Perhaps the lack of crown interaction, spontaneity? Hard to get the mix right. For me, perhaps it was being the first time seeing them, but I felt a little like I’d been at a different concert.
And viewing the departing crowds, it is great to see such a mix of the young and old – not the sort of crowd that generally attends a greatest hits concert – clearly this is a band still relevant.
Indeed – not Adele at all!
Brisbane Times Review
Ninety minutes, 28 songs.
The Pixies don’t leave time to draw breath.
And on this humid, autumn evening, the thousands who packed Brisbane’s Riverstage would not have had it any other way.
The Pixies are arguably Generation X’s most important band and, tonight, they show why they are so beloved.
Their success was always more critical than commercial, more influential than affluent and, ultimately, more long-lived than many of the bands they spawned.
Without the Pixies, Kurt Cobain famously said, there would have been no Nirvana.
We get those dynamics in spades tonight, even if one of the driving forces of the Pixies that Cobain knew has left the band.
There’s no denying Kim Deal leaves a Gigantic hole, but replacement bassist Paz Lenchantin has rejuvenated the Pixies in a way even they, perhaps, would not have expected.
This is the Pixies’ first Brisbane show in a shade under seven years and Lenchantin’s first with the band since she joined in 2013.
Deal casts a huge shadow, but Lenchantin performs admirably, particularly during All I Think About Now, the song frontman Black Francis penned as a tribute to Deal.
As irreplaceable as Deal is, sometimes – just sometimes – you could be forgiven for forgetting this was only 75 per cent of the original line-up.
Francis’s wails carry as much youthful rage as they did when he was a 20-something darling of the indie circuit (as opposed to a 51-year-old darling of the indie circuit).
David Lovering is a monster on the drums and gets a lot of la-la-love from the crowd, and Joey Santiago’s signature riffs are like honey for the ears.
The Pixies are on stage at 8.15pm on the dot, and depart 90 minutes later, almost to the minute, with a good 15 minutes to spare before the Riverstage’s infamous 10pm curfew.
And, from beginning to end, they simply do not let up.
“Now’s my chance to grab a beer,” my companion says after Where is My Mind (known to many as that song at the end of Fight Club).
“There’s no way they’ll follow that up with another big song.”
Cue the opening chords of Here Comes Your Man. That beer can wait.
Gouge Away is menacing, Monkey Gone to Heaven is sublime and No. 13 Baby is, to my dismay, missing altogether.
But it’s a minor quibble.
The Pixies make almost every post a winner (aside from one stuff-up, which Francis takes responsibility for – Havalina being abandoned after a few chords – leading to an apology, which ends up being his only ad-libbed verbal communication with the crowd) and they leave Brisbane wanting more.
So much more.
The Pixies remain one of the most important bands on the planet. Like the Velvet Underground, they may not have sold as many albums as others, but those who bought their albums started some of the biggest and most successful bands of the modern era.
Tonight, it’s easy to see why.
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