My second favorite band in the known universe, The Pixies, played Austin Music Hall two weeks ago to a packed house. Most of the occupants of said packed house were in diapers when The Pixies broke up. A part of me really dislikes these young fans for no reason other than spite. Or maybe because I just enjoy disliking them. Another part of me congratulates them on validating my excellent taste in music.
(Note: “Slicin’ up eyeballs is a lyric from Debaser, the first track on the Pixies Doolittle CD.)
The opening band, the F@@K buttons, should be renamed the S@@K buttons. Noise. Bad electrodistortionsynth that really, the ‘band’ could have just sent a CD to the venue. I’ve never really understood live techno.
But the Pixies did not disappoint. Despite their storied history of conflict they actually seemed to enjoy playing. Seeing Charles / Frank Black / Black Francis smiling while screeching Chained couldn’t have made me happier. This tour was the Dolittle tour, where they played the album front to back, bookended with some B-sides (many of which I like a lot better than the songs on the album), and then some encores of other Pixies stuff, like Into the White and Where is My Mind?.
The ‘eyeballs’ line from Debaser (and the entire song) apparently references a French art film, which they actually had projected during the opening of the concert. The projected visuals worked with the music, but didn’t steal the show. Overall it was simply what I needed – a mental break from training to enjoy ‘one of my favorite things.’ No whiskers on kittens here, but I’ll take dark distortion and a solid riff, thank you.
The choice of Dolittle is strange – not considered the best Pixies album, and it has 1-3 serious holes (i.e. songs that just don’t measure up). The album was recorded later in the Pixies career as tensions mounted, so maybe this was their makeup tour for the bad performances when they were feuding and hating each other?
The first time I saw the Pixies, I only caught two songs because of a ticket fiasco courtesy of a college roommate. The second time, 15 years later, they played ACL in Austin as part of their reunion tour (the band had broken up when I was in college and I still bear a grudge against Kim Deal (bassist), though the more I learn it sounds like Charles was to blame. But I digress). The third time at Stubbs in Austin shortly after ACL. Now two weeks distant, despite not hearing my favorite songs (Caribou, for example – and pretty much anything off Surfer Rosa), I think this was my favorite Pixies performance. They sounded fantastic, even in Austin Music Hall.
Now, name my favorite band and you win an undetermined prize to be awarded at an undisclosed location at an unplanned time.