Formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts, its been a long ride for The Pixies and It's been six years since they last toured Australia as you can imagine this has been a highly anticipated tour for the fans out there and thanks to LIVE NATION they're back. We were lucky enough to catch the Brisbane leg of the tour, supported by The Murlocs
The Pixies have played a pivotol role in influencing bands all over the world, not only Nirvana but Radiohead, Blur, and Wheezer to name a few, including opening band The Murlocs, with lead singer Ambrose Kenny Smith saying between songs that this was a childhood dream of his. As the 20 something's flocked to the front of the stage to catch The Murlocs, myself included, front and centre...the crowd began to build, by the time they had finished, I looked behind me and the Riverstage was full of bodies.
The beauty of The Pixies is their music cannot be pigeon holed into one containing elements in psychedelia, hard rock, noise pop and can be said to be one of the original attributes to ‘Alt Rock’. Francis is the Pixies' primary songwriter; his often surreal lyrics cover offbeat subjects such as extraterrestrials, incest, and biblical violence which collide with his unique enigmatic voice.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1994 Kurt Cobain himself said that there would be no Nirvana without The Pixies and what a damn shame that would be.
"I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies,"
"…When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band — or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard."
Therefore I have to attribute The Pixies for influencing one of my all time favourite bands and a band that intern also influenced many others throughout the 90’s.
Although we love the classics we must not forget why The Pixies are touring in the first place and thats because their sophomore “post-reunion” album Head Carrier, was released September last year. The 12-track collection of the band’s unique aural mix of surrealism, psychedelia, dissonance and surf rock was produced by Tom Dalgety (Killing Joke, Royal Blood) and recorded at London's Rak Studios. For the first time since their very early days, The Pixies spent a total of six weeks in pre-production, writing, arranging and rehearsing a plethora of songs. Ergo - Tour!
As they hit the Brisbane Riverstage to a crowd of thousands, smoke filled the area. Playing song after song the band barely caught a breath. Smashing out favourites such as ‘Gouge Away, Here Comes Your Man, U-Mass, Where Is My Mind’.
‘Hey’ got the crowd singing as loud as they could and Francis proved age has had no affect on those ripping vocals of his with ‘Tame’ which was absolutely insane. ‘Debaser’ got the crowd the rowdiest with the die hard fans smashing about in the pit. There was an array of sorts throughout the crowd at the Riverstage with fans starting at an early age, as I looked to my left and saw an 8-10 year old wearing a Foo Fighters shirt thrashing about his hair with his tongue hanging out.
Being able to see behind the stage Joey Santiago's line up of guitars was impeccable, switching guitars between songs, his signature riffs were so so smooth. Paz Lenchantin having only joined as a full time member last year after being their touring bassist since 2014, was the one with the hard task replacing the original Kim Deal on vocals and bass and playing her first time in Australia. My opinion she absolutely fit like a glove but still threw her own thing into the mix.
At 9.19PM track, ‘Havalina’ was abandoned by Francis after only a few chords, not really giving a reason to the crowd only to say ‘I’m going to play another song’.. the crowd waited in anticipation, hanging on to every movement, Santiago switched guitars again and they all found their feet bringing it into track ‘Snakes’
At 9.27PM the band began to play ‘Monkeys gone to heaven’ and a lady next to me jumped up screaming ‘Yes Yes Yes’ dancing away under the beautiful night sky. Wrapping up the set at 9.40PM the crowds clapping could be heard for miles, people screaming for more. It was apparent The Pixies were exhausted as they brought the show to an end bowing to the audience, humble and thankful for the warmth they’ve received.
Although there was no telling the crowd that that was the end and they refused to shut up and for the encore they played ‘Into the white’ with Lenchantin taking the lead and taking it home after a whopping 90 minutes on stage.
Reviewer - Jariah Travan
Photographer - Kyle Butcher