The Pixies rock Doolittle and B-sides for Boston faithful
A review of The Pixies at the Citi Wang Theatre on November 27, 2009
The Pixies have never been a group that fit into the “norm”. The elements that make up the group (Frank Black’s rampant howling vocals, Joey Santiago’s distinctively irregular guitar playing, and the off-beat lyrical content) have always placed the Pixies in a class of their own. However, in their latest reunion tour they’re participating in something that has become quite the norm of late: playing a classic album in its entirety. However, leave it to the Pixies to even put a twist on this new fad. While other groups have cushioned their album-play with hits the Boston alt-rock icons, who hit the Wang Theatre for the 20th anniversary of Doolittle, decided to open with B-sides from the album.
Bassist Kim Deal, the only member of the band to address the audience all night, interestingly uttered “some of the B sides were so obscure we had to learn them” before “Bailey’s Walk”. One would wonder why the foursome wouldn’t focus their energy on some of their more popular songs, which they likely wouldn’t have to re-learn? Nevertheless, the band’s consistently tight sound made it seem like they’d been practicing the songs for years.
After “Manta Ray”, The Pixies ripped into Doolittle without forewarning with Deal’s bouncy bassline to “Debaser” kicking things off. One could’ve closed their eyes during the album’s performance and thought they were listening to their iPod, especially because there was little dialogue between songs. The band was spot on with their sound and stepped right up to even the most challenging of requirements as Black effortlessly let his voice rage all over “Tame” and David Lovering laid down his fills with such force on “Wave of Mutilation”. All the while Deal gave constant status updates, ageing herself by stating which “side” of the record they were on. Her addresses would’ve been pointless if they weren’t the only dialogue the band had with the audience all evening. Although, they were still kind of pointless (“It’s good to be back in Boston” would’ve worked much better). However, anyone going in to a Pixies concert looking for dialogue is at the wrong show. What the group lacks in audience engagement they more than make up for with their sound.
Rising star Jay Reatard opened the show with a punk rock party of his own.