It’s 2017 and it’s the first time an avowed rocker like me has caught the legendary Pixies. Shame on me. “Legendary” is a fair description of their status considering their influence and reputation. Whether you get into their seminal style of indie hard rock or not, the Pixies are cited by much more popular artists, such as Nirvana and Radiohead, as mentors.
A long time ago, and I’m paraphrasing here, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke said that all he wanted to do was make Pixies’ music. David Bowie was also a Pixies fan, covering their song, Cactus, on his 2002 album Heathen, and had band leader, singer and songwriter, Frank Black, join him onstage at his 50th birthday concert calling Black “extraordinary” after he sang Scary Monsters and Fashion with him.
They were an “indie” band in the true sense of the word, but with a cult following after their first EP and album before their breakthrough album on a major label, Doolittle, in 1989.
Pixies had a hiatus in the ’90s but occasionally toured and became one of the first “legendary” bands to play reunion tours in the early 2000s. Their first tour to Australia was back then and now the band are back to support the release of their 2016 album Head Carrier.
Last night’s set drew mostly from that album as well as Doolittle. The show opened with the thick bass riff and plaintive vocals of Gouge Away from Doolittle followed by the heavy guitar riff of the title track of new album. In fact, the set drew mostly from the heavier numbers in their recorded catalogue. They didn’t play their their best known track, the decidedly catchy Here Comes Your Man, but the night’s highlight was the quiet and melancholy Where Is My Mind?
The biggest change since their last tour was the inclusion of their new bass player, Paz Lenchantin, who also recorded the comeback albums Indie Cindy and Head Carrier with the band. She is best known for her work with A Perfect Circle, and if the original bass player Kim Deal must be replaced, then Lenchantin is a fine choice.
While the gig was only just over 90 minutes, the band ripped through almost 30 songs. No “How are you Sydney?” clichés from Black or any banter with the audience. But the band did acknowledge the rapturous and well deserved applause of the audience with a collective bow.