Ed. – We sent our intrepid reporter, Ms. Spires, to cover the Pixies on Sunday night, as she won the coin-toss with our Managing Editor to determine who would get to see this show.
By Susanne Spires
The cold weather and the fact that it was a Sunday night show didn’t appear to be an issue for the fans who showed up to the surprisingly not sold out show at the outdoor stage of the Express Live! for the Pixies on their “Head Carrier Tour.”
In attendance was a multi-generational fan base, ranging from those who have been fans since the band’s debut album “Surfer Rosa” in 1988, all the way to fans that had yet to be born when it was released. Their ability to draw such a wide age group after nearly 30 years proves their music withstands the test of time, and is still bringing in new generations of Pixies followers.
The band promptly took to the stage at 9 p.m., kicking off their show with Gouge Away, followed by a somewhat surprising pick from debut album, River Euphrates. They played a song from their latest album “Head Carrier”, Talent, but followed it up with Monkey Gone to Heaven, and all was well again.
As much as it pains me to say this about the Pixies, their last two albums have been boring, and I can’t seem to get back to listening to them. However, Classic Masher, from the current album they are touring in support of, along with Um Chagga Lagga, did seem to get the crowd moving and responding to the band.
Crackity Jones, from “Doolittle”, was a great, fast-paced song that made an easy transition for drummer David Lovering to power through into Rock Music, while keeping perfect rhythm, but still managing to sound like a gunfight. The strobe lights and heavy guitar of the song (on top of distorted vocals) kept the crowd feeding-off the energy the band was throwing into the ether of the night.
Here’s where the show slowed down a bit. They reached deep into their catalog throughout the night and played songs I never expected, and I think some of the more casual fans didn’t know.
Now, I don’t know the percentage of casual fans to longtime/diehard fans, but for the next 20 minutes, excepting Mr. Grieves, a lot of people were seemingly…well, bored.
Perhaps it was because in this 20-minute time period three songs from the past two albums were played, but so were songs from “Surfer Rosa”, “Trompe Le Monde”, and even “Come on Pilgrim.” Surprisingly, what brought the crowd back around was the new song Um Chagga Lagga, either with its high energy or that it was fast enough to jump and bounce around to. This was much needed as the temperature dropped throughout the evening.
The band went to a B side/Peel Session tune from “Doolittle”, with Dead following the new tune to keep the crowd going. And it worked, whether they knew the song or not. No. 13 Baby had the crowd singing along, and it seemed as though the lull was over.
The beautiful and simple Havalina was a highlight of the evening, as it echoed perfectly through the cold, clear night air. Following that was All the Saints, segueing into the old familiar La La Love, sung in somewhat borderline lounge singer fashion.
From there, they powered through to the end of the show. Here Comes Your Man had the crowd singing along and smiling ear to ear. They continued to hit the rewind button, playing Vamos from the first album. This was particularly impressive, thanks to guitarist Joey Santiago and his ability to play distortion and feedback like a theremin.
Following that were two songs from “Come on Pilgrim”, Nimrod’s Son and The Holiday Song, before taking a break from their own music to cover Neil Young’s Winterlong.
As soon as the opening riff for Where Is My Mind? began, a deafening chorus of “OOOOoooo’s” echoed through Express Live! The crowd sang along, or in some cases… they tried to, as front man Black Francis was singing a slightly sped up version. I’m guessing that it’s not a favorite anymore after the departure of Kim Deal, despite it being the band’s most popular song, featuring her singing the iconic opening.
During a rushed Wave of Mutilation, Francis gave a “wrap it up” gesture to the drummer while his back was turned to the crowd. All I Think About Now was then performed, with bass player Paz Lenchantin taking lead vocals. It’s been posited that this is a “thank you” song to Kim Deal written by Black Francis. I kind of think it’s a passive aggressive “fuck you” to her from him, but that’s just me. Give it a listen and decide for yourself.
They ended the show with Debaser, and played it with the same enthusiasm as they did when I was fortunate enough to see them in 2004 with the original members. Granted, the harmonies sounded different, but I only heard a few people mention anything about the lineup changes in the band during the night. Everyone else was just happy to stand in the cold and listen to the Pixies play a solid night of favorites and rarely heard live songs.
And with that, the band waved to the crowd and took a few bows, both individually and as a group before leaving a smoke-filled stage (from the fog machines). Seemingly just seconds later, they lit it back up to play one last song. Once again, Lenchantin took over on vocals, doing her best Kim Deal impression for Into the White. And with that, it was truly over.
Once the house lights popped back to life, many people within earshot were surprised by the choice for the encore. But, everyone in attendance, including myself, seemed to be happy with they just witnessed… a strong performance of classic songs, a few new ones, and rarities performed by the Pixies 3.0 on a chilly evening in Columbus.
- Gouge Away
- River Euphrates
- Monkey Gone to Heaven
- Classic Masher
- Crackity Jones
- Rock Music
- Magdalena 318
- Plaster of Paris
- Bel Esprit
- Something Against You
- Um Chagga Lagga
- 13 Baby
- All the Saints
- La La Love You
- Brick Is Red
- Here Comes Your Man
- Nimrod’s Son
- The Holiday Song
- Winterlong (Neil Young cover)
- Where Is My Mind?
- Wave of Mutilation
- All I Think About Now
- ENCORE – Into the White
Pixies – Wave of Mutilation