Pixies Bring The Planet Of Sound To iTunes Festival!
REVIEW: No Gigantic, but the legends are still enormous at the Roundhouse…
First active between 1986 and 1993, since reforming in 2004 Pixies have embarked on a sporadic series of tours capitalising on their reputation, which had only grown in their absence.
Now they're back again, with EP1 - their first collation of new material in 20 years - and a change in line up following founding member Kim Deal's departure, to be replaced for this tour by The Muffs' Kim Shattuck.
Feeling: Their was a crackle of excitement in the air as crowd - made up of teens and 20-somethings who never had the chance to see the band the first time around, and older fans who are all starting to look more and more like the band's frontman Black Francis - waited for a rare chance to see their heroes.
The Look: Never the showiest of bands, Francis' uniform of check shirt and jeans hasn't changed over the decades, guitarist Joey Santiago looks as smooth as ever in a smart black shirt and drummer Dave Lovering looks like a, well, a drummer - albeit in a nice stripy t-shirt. New addition Shattuck is the only member who dresses like she's 'in a band', with streaked hair and punky knee socks. None of this matters of course, this is a Pixies gig - where what you're wearing isn't really the point.
Tunes: By dispensing with any between song chat, and with a track running time average of under three minutes, the band manage to knock out nearly thirty songs - with every one a winner.
Opening with the slower, UK Surf version of Wave Of Mutilation, followed by In Heaven and newie Andro Queen, the band broke the audience in gently - before cracking into a swift one-two of Where Is My Mind? and Here Comes Your Man which sent the crowd nuts.
After that there was no real let-up as tracks from across all the bands original albums were batted out at a frenetic pace, along with recent single Bagboy, the three numbers from their new EP and covers of The Fall's Big Prinz and The Jesus And Mary Chain's Head On.
A moshpit quickly broke out - with ecstatic fans flying flailing over the crowd during heavier numbers such as Bone Machine, Crackity Jones and I've Been Tired, while Caribou, Planet Of Sound, Monkey Gone To Heaven and Vamos bringing the night to a shuddering, sweat-soaked finish.
Kim Deal's absence was most noticeable with the lack of 'her' songs Gigantic and Into The White from the setlist, but with 28 other knockouts in their place it seems churlish to complain about any omissions.
Banter: As is their way, the band didn't utter a word throughout the show, but some appreciative waving and, heck, even smiling from Francis at the night's close said everything that needed saying.
Sweat Factor: From the band to the crowd, everybody put the work in, with only the occasional splash from flying plastic pint glasses offering relief.
Summary: Despite Deal's absence it really felt as if the band had never been away, and on the strength of tonight's set and the new material played let's hope this time they're back for keeps.
By Gavin Cullen @mtvuknews
Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)
Where Is My Mind?
Here Comes Your Man
Break My Body
Something Against You
Brick Is Red
Ed Is Dead
Big New Prinz
What Goes Boom
I've Been Tired
Planet of Sound
Monkey Gone to Heaven
Pictures © iTunes Festival