As one of the most influential rock bands in the last thirty years (Kurt Cobain worked with producer Steve Albini because Albini worked with the Pixies and Kim Deal-led band the Breeders), the Pixies have been touring practically non-stop since reuniting in 2004. Their recent show at The Music Box in Los Angeles was a special off-tour date promoted just to their fan mailing list—it didn't even appear on their tour page. The band this week just ended their "Lost Cities" tour, which was an extension of their 2009-2010 international "Doolittle" tour, where they played the entire record including b-sides. The "Cities" tour was meant to hit up lesser frequented cites like Bakersfield, CA that were not included in the original tour.
Surprisingly, the sold-out show was not as packed out as I would've expected. Despite the droves of 30s-40s white dudes (including a 7' version, no joke), there was still a decent amount of elbow room in the crowd. The Pixies must've purposely undersold the 1,300 capacity venue to make the show more comfortable for fans—the desperate crowd outside showed there was no lack of concert-goers.
The band certainly didn't ease up for this off-tour show and the on-stage banter was aplenty. Lead singer Black Francis called out an audience member for swearing at him and later vowed he will never dance again. The still undeniably adorable bassist Kim Deal told anecdotes, made shout outs to her kids and bid proper good nights to each band member in her sweet, girly voice that hasn't aged a bit. Guitarist Joey Santiago played slide guitar with his iPhone, appearing to be taking a video as he did:
If he was indeed filming, I hope he posts the video!
The Pixies played the entirety of "Doolittle" plus tracks from all their other albums (yes, they played that "Fight Club" song) for a cumulative two-hour set and upwards of forty songs. All the crowd favorites were played, "Broken Face," "Gigantic," "Velouria," heck, all their songs were crowd favorites for this audience.
Of the more obscure choices, they played a song originally recorded for a Neil Young charity record, which was also played on the Doolittle tour. The song was recorded for "The Bridge: A Tribute To Neil Young" in 1989, released by Caroline Records (hey, I interned there). They also played a b-side that Deal said was so obscure the band had to re-learn it.
Thanks to my college roommate, the Pixies was the soundtrack to countless road trips, dorm room dance parties and some of my more life-threateningly fun experiences. Their music immediately transported me back to shenanigans like driving to Tijuana on a weekday or hiking two miles in fur coats from a desert hot spring at three in the morning. I can honestly say the show was everything I could've hoped for. The performance lacked the giant video screen from their normal tour, the sound tech was iffy and the band messed up a few times, but what's a little casual blunder between the Pixies and superfans?
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- Steve Albini