Last Thursday, I shot the Pixies. (With a camera, that is).
My friend Susan “Sooz” Kaup runs Exploit Boston!, an excellent Boston events site. They had a photographer’s pass for the first Boston-area Pixies concert in Lowell, MA (see here for more). When the Pixies announced a last-minute small venue show in Boston proper, it was a matter of pure serendipity that I was in town (camera in tow), ready to take advantage of their second photo pass of the month…especially as the show sold out in minutes. This was the first time they’d played their hometown since 1992, and the natives were restless.
We were only allowed to shoot the first three songs, hustled out immediately after. This was a pity, since I was trying to catch a better shot of Kim Deal at the time. If you’ve seen any of the recent shows, you know there’s a lot of strobe lights. Fortunately, I knew where they’d pause them for a second…such as the guitar mini-solo in “Isla de Encanta.” Thus, I had an advantage over the considerably older, non-Pixies fan photographers from the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. The Globe photographer said it was “the worst show [he'd] shot in 20 years.”
Me: “What, you didn’t like the music?”
“No, the lighting!”
Although I was definitely on the low end of the photo equipment spectrum with my boyfriend’s Canon PowerShot G2, I managed several good shots. My favorite features a pensive Joey Santiago, and Black Francis’ elbow; my second fave, Kim Deal rocking out in front of David Lovering. (Lovering was also the opening act – he did a magic show. No word on whether rabbits were involved).
After the show, the photo pros were quizzing me which band member was which…
Me: “Ok, then there’s Kim Deal…”
“Which one was he?”
Me: “Umm, she‘s the bassist.” (Sigh).
Earlier, one of them had asked: “So, which is the most famous Pixie?” I gave a quick rundown of who was who. Frank Black/Black Francis did such and such; then there’s Kim Deal, she had the Breeders and the Amps…
“Oh! the Breeders! Yeah, I’ve heard of them!” (Yet they have no idea Kim’s the only girl. Typical).
Exploit Boston!’s reviewer, Michael Grasso, called the show a “sonic assault” on the venue. As with the Akron, OH show, and Coachella festival CD, between-song banter was held to a minimum. Not surprising, given that all the shows on the tour have been taped, either by DiscLive or the newly-formed PixiesDiscs partnership with CDBaby. (The Boston set list is here, if you want to compare to the show(s) you’ve seen.)
These shows have been a matter of wonderment in several respects. Did you ever think you’d see the Pixies together again? At the time of the Blogcritics Frank Black / Black Francis interview in 2002, I certainly didn’t. The rancor of their split outweighed all possibility of a reunion, let alone a major tour and new album. Who cares if they’re not playing anything new right now? (Not even “Bam Thwok”, the summer 2004 Pixies single). Their back catalog contains enough brilliance to outshine a million pre-fab Britneys (I’m looking at you, Lindsey Lohan).
Twelve years after their last show, the Pixies were home again. Don’t wait so long next time, ok?