Pixies step out without their former bassist and talisman Kim Deal to play new songs. A recipe for disaster but as Getintothis’ Rachel Roby discovers, Pixies are more than just the sum of their parts.
We are massive Pixies fans (how could you not be?) and yet when the UK tour was announced we didn’t rush to get tickets, mainly because of the Kim Deal-shaped hole left when she departed the band in June to focus on her other band, The Breeders.
Cut to 5pm yesterday rushing to Manchester, because it’s all been a really terrible mistake and we really need to see these guys.
Rubbish public transport notwithstanding, we made it to the Apollo in time to catch the support band, The Jezabels. They’re not what you would expect from a Pixies support act. You’d be forgiven for bracing yourself for something a little rockier.
Instead they’re calmer and poppier, with just a hint of emo. Their singer Hayley Mary reminds us of a mix of Karen O and Kate Bush. They mix it up with some keyboard and pounding drums. They’re well worth seeking out.
Then it was time for Pixies. They start with In Heaven (their cover from David Lynch film Eraserhead) and then new song Andro Queen. The whole set tonight comes with a big light display of different colours and strobes, and even a smoke machine.
A rather confused looking Black Francis in action at Manchester Apollo
It took them a bit of time to warm up, but got into their groove when drummer David Lovering’s took over vocal duties on La La Love You and got the crowd into gear.
Other songs like Hey and Tame from Doolittle, along with Here Comes Your Man and Monkey Gone To Heaven, had everyone singing/shouting along. Bone Machine, Tony’s Theme and Cactus from Surfer Rosa were played to an inevitably hoarse roar from the audience.
Songs from Come On Pilgrim like Ed Is Dead and The Holiday Song had some of the biggest crowd reactions, while hardly anything from album Bossanova was played.
Joey Santiago took his guitar solo on Vamos and turned it into a front of stage performance of play shooting the crowd with his guitar, put it on back to front and still played it, and then unplugged it and played his amp lead with his mouth. Impressive stuff from a seasoned pro.
Songs from their most recent release EP1 were taken with caution at first by the audience, and for some as an excuse to visit the bar.
Eventually common sense prevails and we notice that towards the end of each that people had started nodding along in approval.
Songs from EP1 such as Indie Cindy, an immensely beautiful song, and Bagboy stand firm against their older and more famous material.
Kim Shattuck, on bass, moshes around the place with heartening enthusiasm. As Kim Deal’s replacement she made us realise it must be hard to fill someone else’s place, but she is a very able replacement and she did a great job.
The first set ended with Where Is My Mind?. Huge applause, and the first time we’ve ever seen Black Francis smile.
The obligatory encore followed and with it a couple of songs from Trompe Le Monde including Head On and ending with the still unreal Planet of Sound.
Red and purple lights and strobes blazing, we realize they’re still the band we’ve loved all this time, just minus one person, and they’re doing their best and still kicking arse along the way.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Sakura Zilla.
Further reading on Getintothis:
Top 10: Pixies
Queens Of The Stone Age: Phones 4 U Arena, Manchester
Eels: O2 Academy, Liverpool
Dinosaur Jr, Kult Country: East Village Arts Club, Liverpool