Monday, December 13, 2004

Pixies and the Datsuns

So, the Pixies show. The Datsuns opened up and were pretty good. As all opening bands do, they played two songs too long (hey, that might be the name of my autobiography one day). They were thin and wore tight T-shirts, though the lead guitarist wore some kind of denim jumpsuit that Leather Tuscadero would have envied. He was a good guitarist, but unfortunately the lead guitarist for the band that would play next happens to be one of the all-time greats. So rather than linger on the Datsuns for a line too long, let's move on to the Pixies.

Every review talks about their appearance, but who cares about that? They were so good, I couldn't even be jealous. They played just about every song you could hope to hear, they played just the way you'd hope to hear them: loud and fast. There was almost no talk between any songs, yet it didn't make you feel disconnected with them. Everyone in the venue--band, fans, security--wanted to squeezeas much music out of the night as possible. Of course, the Pixies have enough sense not to play too long, so they played about 90 minutes. That is about the outer edge of how long you can enjoy a show when you have to stand, but since it's been so long, it was the right amount to play. They were a bit sloppy from time to time and the sound was not so clear, but it never really mattered. They appeared to be having a good time, so my hope was that it sounded good to them on stage. For the four of you who read this who have never been in a band, the sound on stage is radically different than what the audience hears. So they might have heard everything perfectly for all I know. As I said, though, these things did not matter at all.

I think "Gigantic" was maybe the best song of the night in terms of performance and sound quality, but everything was great. It appeared as though they played the songs that were from the "Trompe Le Monde" era a little more crisply, but the older songs were more ferocious. Because of the nature of their songs--fast, strange rhythms, complex backup singing--it felt like the wheels might come off from time to time. But that added to the energy, I think. Joey Santiago made all the lead guitarists of the last ten years look like chumps. Everything he plays is complements perfectly what is going on with the rest of the band. David Lovering makes up great drum parts, though I got the sense that he rushes things a bit. But I don't have to play guitar along with what he's playing, so it was fine with me. Kim Deal smiled a lot. Her voice got lost from time to time, but I have even more respect for her bass playing than I already had (A lot). It was a shame that I couldn't hear her voice more because it is so interesting next to Frank Black's. Of course, everyone sang her parts with her, especially during "Where Is My Mind?" and she seemed genuinely happy about that. I kept feeling that the band was very grateful for the audience's appreciation of their music. It's so interesting to hear music that has meant so much in my life over the years. My whole life flashed before my eyes, and, since it was the Pixies, it flashed really quickly. It made me miss a lot of people but in the pleasant way, rather than the painful way.

Frank Black's voice is astounding. I don't understand how he can scream like that every night. It occurs to me now that his screaming melodic and vicious at the same, a lot like Joey Santiago's guitar playing. His songwriting makes a joke of all the comparisons between the Pixies and all the bands that have been influenced by them. I was glad to see him getting along with Kim Deal on stage. Playing with people you hate is possible, but it sure is nice to like the people you're on stage with. At the end of the show, before the encores, they all walked around the stage and waved to everyone and seemed, again, very grateful. I hope to write more about this experience, but I must run now.

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