Home / Pixies Live! – Lansdowne Road, Dublin – 23rd August, 2005

Pixies Live! – Lansdowne Road, Dublin – 23rd August, 2005

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Though it seems unlikely that the Pixies perform in an indoor venue on these shores any time soon, there was a lot more connectivity to be found in Lansdowne Road yesterday evening than there ever could have been at last year’s outing in the sprawling acres of the Phoenix Park. Following the surprisingly impressive home-grown talent of Humanzi, the bland, ageing efforts of Teenage Fanclub, and the teenybopper-pleasing Kings of Leon, the crowds suddenly tightened together as the Pixies took stage for a punctual entrance at nine o’clock sharp, just as darkness was about to fall. Yes, the immediate shock and excitement of seeing the Pixies in the flesh – a band for which a reunion once seemed out of the question – had faded since last summer, but their return to Dublin looked promising from the very outset. Back with a much deserved headline slot, the group now had a more than ample timeframe to perform in, the crowd size was condensed to a mere fraction of the 115,000 that attended their previous Irish performance, and a gremlin-free PA system was as good as one could hope for at an outdoor gig.

After starting off with the slowed-down, “UK Surf” version of “Wave of Mutilation,” followed by a cover of Peter Ivers’ brilliant “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)”, it’s clear the Pixies’ have no problem trotting out the big guns so early on, with “Where is My Mind?” and “Here Comes Your Man” both being introduced to the set within minutes. Doing so meant that little time was wasted by those intent on forming a mosh pit that would extend far beyond the railings which separated the majority of the audience from the “safe-haven” of a wristband-only area at the stage’s front. Despite the open air nature of the show, the crowd was hemmed in together in such a way that applauding was made difficult, and taking pictures nigh on impossible. With such restricted mobility, the surges of squashed-ness became a force that could not be reckoned with, and rather than be swept under, the order of the day soon became to sing your little heart out while jumping in time with the music, just to stay afloat…

Of course, it was only a matter of time before someone realised that such conditions were perfectly conducive to crowd-surfing. Before long, throngs of Pixie-goers were passed over a horizon of heads only to announce their arrival with a tattered shoe in your ear. Though some managed to float by gracefully, there were those that met with more disastrous ends: as a sea of outstretched hands acted as pulleys, heads were kicked, spectacles were broken, and bodies were dropped. Meanwhile, back on stage, Joey Santiago was in the middle of his own controlled chaos during “Vamos,” performing a Nigel Tufnel-like solo by conducting his guitar with a drumstick as he fed its sound through a chain of effects pedals. Elsewhere, with plumes of dry ice billowing behind him just as the lighting shifted into a certain shade, for a moment, the big screens managed to create the impression that Frank Black was wailing from the flames of hell.

Although Kim Deal (looking like someone’s long-lost evil, billionaire aunt), certainly seemed to be enjoying the enthusiasm of the crowd’s sing along antics throughout the night, the atmosphere on the ground didn’t seem to directly relate back to the band’s energy levels. Despite it being the first date of their European tour, and having only reformed just over a year ago, there was something about the nimble athleticism of David Lovering, the cool silhouette of Joey Santiago, and the nonchalant composure of Frank Black that seemed altogether regimented; something a little too unphased about their business-like demeanour. Perhaps it’s just professionalism. Either way, there was nothing stopping the band from being consistently brilliant on the night, delivering highlight performances of the likes of “Cactus” and “Gouge Away” while sounding dazzlingly close to the quality of the recorded versions. Even when a pool of rain water that had collected on the stage’s roof suddenly blew down on to the band as if it were a pre-planned burst of confetti, not a word was said to the crowd until it was time for the Pixies to bid goodnight. As they finally put their instruments down and thanked the audience, Black and Deal (who had shared a few playful interactions out of earshot over the course of the evening) engaged in an exaggerated, pantomime-like discussion over the question of an encore, stretching their mouths over each syllable and gesticulating with their fingers so as the crowd could lip-read every word. As the last notes of “Gigantic” rang out, the Pixies’ Irish fan-base could leave feeling more than satisfied (and knowing that they didn’t have miles to walk towards an exit this time out). Now, if only those rumours of b-side-only, secret gigs in Dublin’s best venues could materialise…

Taken from http://www.seewhatyouhear.com

edited: ME

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About Cian

  • Was Frank Black super-sweaty?

    He gets sweatier and sweatier each time I’ve seen him, I swear. And I’ve seen The Pixies 4 times in the last 15 months or so.

    That is all.