LIVE REVIEW: Pixies @ O2 Academy, Newcastle (21.09.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Jay Dawson

Perhaps THE great disruptors of modern popular music, Pixies returned to the region to showcase their new album, Beneath The Eyrie. The cool older crowd were so laid back that many were still not inside when the band hit the stage just before 9pm. The reason for the prompt start became obvious when we were treated to an epic 39-song setlist that just managed to fit inside the 11.00pm curfew.

Frank Black looked a little more venerable than he has before, with longish greying hair and glasses enabling him to read the lyrics of the new songs. The set ranged widely across all the albums, with songs from their peerless early trio of albums predictably being the most ecstatically received. Standouts included Nimrod’s Son (always good for a crowd swearalong), Caribou (REPENT!), Velouria, Cactus (lots of shouts for that), the blackly magical Hey which made my hair stand on end, and Monkey Gone To Heaven.

Vamos was a miss, although Joey’s playing was showcased often – he’s lost none of his anarchic approach to lead guitar. The last five songs of the main set (including a lovely cover of Neil Young’s Winterlong) were slower and more reflective, but no less impressive – with two from the new album auguring well for its success. 

Frank’s voice was higher in the mix for these songs and has lost none of its power and beauty. This new direction was actually more attractive for its divergence for the older ‘scream-along’ classics. The daring of a slower/newer end to the set paid off, greeted by respectable applause.

A group bow after those songs was followed by a mischievous Frank asking the crowd (in sign language) whether we would prefer one more or just sudden death. The roar of encouragement was rewarded with a muscular Debaser that both crowd and band enjoyed to the max.

I could bang on about how I miss Kim Deal – and I do – but the new(ish) girl is very good and this band are still at the peak of their powers.


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