An eclectic group filled the auditorium. Ages ranged from the 20s to the 50s. The Gen X’ers and Millennials have arrived to see the Pixies. The sellout crowd began to fill the seats in the ornate, Strathmore musical venue, and it left me unsure of what the night would bring. The lights dimmed, and the band walked out – the show began with a classic introduction of the Pixies music. The opening set, a visit to the band’s early days, consisted of “Bone Machine,” “Wave of Mutation” and “U-Mass.” The fans are engaged, the colorful lights began to move in sync with the music. Game on.
The sounds of guitar, bass and percussion resonated throughout the auditorium. The tour lineup included Black Francis (vocals/guitar), Joey Santiago (guitar), David Lovering (drums) and, Paz Lenchantin, who happens to be the current touring bassist for North/South American dates, along with the European dates. The dynamic of the band was impenetrable. The projected energy encapsulated the audience, and kept fans out of their seats for the entire show in response.
Not too far into the setlist, the band performed one of its newer songs “Bagboy.” With an interesting compilation of musical techniques from previous hits, the song focuses on the accentuation of bass and guitar, while Francis’ vocals hold it all together. A very smart and strategic approach in returning to new music, after a 10 plus year break from writing.
Formed in the 80s, the Pixies has survived through three decades of musical evolution. Known for its indie style, the band has explored popular themes such as “Punk” of the 80s, “Grunge of the 90s,” etc., but has managed to keep a consistent and self identifying motif with influences by Iggy Pop and The Beatles. Although unconfirmed, it is said that Kurt Cobain was a follower of the Pixies, and was influenced in his own songwriting by the band.
The Pixies have always been a band I admire and follow because of their unassuming presence, vocal mastery and lack of need for synthesizers. All of the elements came together at the Strathmore, and lit the stage with a performance that was no letdown. My realization of this viewpoint came to mind when the band began to sing one of my favorites, “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” which was followed by “La La La Love You.” The transition between the extremely different songs was executed flawlessly.
Pixies fans experienced the show they came for at the Strathmore, and more. An impressive vocal and musical performance, accompanied by an amazing light show within an acoustically designed theater provided for a multisensory adventure. Among a cast of four, the Pixies hit the notes right-on to keep a fan base happy.