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The Pixies


The Pixies

June 15th 2005 @ Agganis Boston

On the back end of their eleven-city US reunion tour, the Pixies landed on the Boston stage behind illuminated metallic lollipops. The band seemed pleasantly surprised to see the mixed crowd burst in applause, full of high school punk prepsters and ex-punk rockers who now have real jobs. The group dressed as if they had missed the last decade in a time warp, walking around awkwardly in dated clothing. After the Pixies broke up in 1992, front man Black Francis (aka Charles Michael Kitteridge Thompson IV) said he would “need an organ transplant” when asked if would reunite with fellow band members. Corporate sponsorship may have swayed Black's opinion, but whatever the reason, these guys seemed excited to be back on tour and at times seemed as enjoyably campy as the Brady Bunch.

The Pixies were formed in 1986 by Boston roommates, Black Francis and Joey Santiago. At the show, Black looked more like Red Sox pitcher David Wells than a typical front man. Santiago absolutely abused his guitar, at one point slapping it with a drumstick during “Vamos.” Bassist Kim Deal sometimes smiled like a giddy school girl, other times playing it impossibly cool as she casually smoked a cigarette without missing a riff. Drummer Dave Lovering was so overwhelmed by the ovation that he took a photo of the crowd, before the band even played a note. The Pixies lived up to their reputation, showing fans that although they may be visually older, fatter, and balder, they could still bring it.

The band opened strong with songs like “Bone Machine,” then ripped through the repertoire as if they needed to make curfew along with the rest of the high school kids in the crowd. Deal hit the high notes perfectly during “Where Is My Mind,” as the crowd happily sang along. Black’s voice resonated throughout the arena, demonstrating his mastery of mixing ambient music and strong chord progressions behind dynamic vocals that paved the way for bands such as Radiohead and Coldplay. He proved he could still easily transition from the piercing screams of “Debaser,” to holding the harmony during “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “La La Love You.” His voice gift wrapped the Pixies’ famous style of controlled aggression.

The lighting was well choreographed and unpredictable, unlike most concerts. The spotlights did not simply highlight the featured artist during solos. The stage lights did not predictably flash when the cymbals crashed. Instead, the minimalist lighting effects captured the mood of each song. There was little break between songs, but the clever lighting technique created smooth transitions, keeping the show focused and the audience engaged. Kurt Cobain once said that there wouldn’t be a Nirvana if there hadn’t been the Pixies. It was pleasantly surprising that a band that influenced so many could still put on a great show. Money may or may not heal old wounds, but it seemed that band and audience alike had a blast picking up where they’d left off years ago. The Pixies will tour Europe later this summer.

-Pratik R. Patel


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